SLAJ Press Release
No justice for slain journalist, one year on
Freetown 11 June 2012 – It is exactly one year to the day since the killing of journalist Ibrahim Foday of the daily Exclusive Newspaper on 12 June 2011 and his killers are yet to face justice. SLAJ will hold a candlelight memorial this week to mark his death.
“We are saddened that one year since the killing of Ibrahim police are yet to bring his killer(s) to justice despite repeated assurances from senior members of the force”, says Umaru Fofana, President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists”. He says this does not leave much confidence in the police force “especially with general elections due in November and concerns abound that journalists could be targets of politicians and their militants”.
According to eyewitnesses at the time Ibrahim was stabbed by Tunde Williams during a land dispute between the Grafton and Kossoh Town communities and it came as he had been publishing stories on the issue, which apparently did not go down well with especially the Kossoh Town community. Tunde was the driver of the Kossoh Town headman and police have failed to apprehend him since despite briefly detaining the headman. A post-mortem clearly showed he died of stab wounds. Chief Pathologist Dr Owis Koroma said the knife was lodged into his right back, which severed his lungs and went deep to touch his chest. The wound was 7 centimetres deep and 2 centimetres wide and the deceased was still bleeding during the autopsy, 48 hours since his death. Tunde was alleged to have knifed Ibrahim after the journalist was held back, apparently for ease of stabbing, by a serving member of the Sierra Leone Police who was briefly arrested and released by the police without charge or explanation. This was the first fatal attack on a journalist in Sierra Leone since 2005 when the editor of For Di People Newspaper, Harry Yansanneh, was beaten to death by family members of a then Member of Parliament, Dr Fatmata Hassan who also never faced justice. Following her SLPP party’s loss of power in 2007, Dr Hassan switched political allegiance to the present ruling APC party who unconscionably allowed her into their fold. Despite calls for that case to be reopened the authorities have not budged. “Such is the horrible circumstance under which journalists work here that when they are attacked, beaten by policemen or even killed no serious action is taken to bring the attackers or assailants to justice,” concludes SLAJ President Umaru Fofana. Meanwhile police recently declared Tunde Williams wanted and put a Le 50 million (about US$ 11,000) -bounty on his head. Signed: ---------------------------- Ismael Koroma National Secretary General