General News of Sunday, 17 December 2017
The Nima police have released People’s National Convention Chairman, Benard Mornah and Irbard Ibrahim, a security analyst, who were arrested earlier Saturday alongside 16 others for staging an unauthorized rally.
The rally was to draw the attention of local and international authorities to the political crisis in Togo.
Lawyers for Mr. Mornah had written to the police demanding reasons for his arrest and whether or not he would be granted bail.
Speaking to Joy News’ Daniel Dadzie after his release, Mr. Mornah said he had written to the Inspector General of Police requesting police presence at their rally but was called just Friday to be informed that the police were short of personnel.
“…It was not until yesterday that DSP Kwasi Ofori called me to meet with the Regional Police Commander, George Mensah. When I went they told me that their officers are overstretched because within the period, over 1,500 of them have been called to write promotional exams,” he said.
“I told them that this was not a demonstration, it was not a protestation but a rally so one or two policemen will be enough so I will be expecting them,” he added.
Having already put in logistics and resources for the rally, they decided to go ahead with it, even without the police presence. He was therefore surprised that the police came in Rambo-style and arrested them on their way back from the said rally.
“…they came and started chasing people. When I got down to ask them what the problem was, they took me like a piece of wood and threw me into the bucket of a pickup that I was under arrest on orders from above,” he said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Kunbungu Ras Mubarak is demanding the immediate release of the other 16. He says it is unfair for them to be held in custody because violating the laws of demonstration is a bailable offence.
“Violating the laws that deal with demonstration is a bailable offence so I don’t think we should be making exemptions for people in high places. I am taken aback that the others are still in custody,” he said.
At the time of filing this report, Mr. Mornah was still at the police station in a bid to facilitate the release of the 16 others.
The police have not been available to comment on the issue