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Kweku Baako opens up on his torture under Rawlings’ regime

JJ Rawlings and Kweku Baako

• Kweku Baako shares his experience when he was arrested under former President Rawlings’ military regime

• He said he enjoyed his stay at Signals Military Base

• He indicated that he was tortured at Field Engineers Military Base

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide has opened up on some of his sufferings under the military regime where he was arrested by some military officers and was tortured in front of civilians in an open space.

According to him, when he was at the Signals Military Base, it was very nice even though he had been arrested by the military. He described his days there are having a Christmas party but when he was transferred to Field Engineers, that is where his woes started.

Baako indicated on Peace FM, Wednesday, May 19, that, he stayed at both Signals and Field Engineers for 25 days each in 1982 before he and his colleagues were transferred to the prisons.

He narrated that, “apart from the fact that I was subjected to torture in an open space with hundreds of civilians and military persons being witnesses on the five/six days continuous, it was open; where was I going to be able to communicate my ordeal at that time? Fifty (50) days, the 25 days that I suffered, how and where was I going to be able to articulate? Where was the channel of communication to me to communicate my experience then? And then don’t forget that, after the 50 days, I went to prison for two years from 1982 to 1984. Again, I was in prison, where was I going to get the opportunity to communicate my ordeal?”, he asked.

“But the truth of the matter is this, in spite of that, because we had visitors and things, people compiled records, gave it to the Ghana Journalists Association as well as other civil society groups who sent them to Amnesty International. So, those things were published.

“I have copies of the Amnesty International newsletters (they have records they issue with some on an annual and quarterly basis) on the experiences of prisoners of conscience. I was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, not alone, but many. So, our experiences, before we personally individually got the opportunity to talk about them had already been communicated,” he clarified.

“So, if you’re sharp and a bit knowledgeable, you will not even ask that question,” Mr. Baako further blasted his critics.

He also stressed that he did a critical analysis of Caleb’s ordeal ”in good faith and not to attack the gentleman or his story. Look, he’s such a young person. I watched him as he gave his narration. Those are people you don’t discourage. Those are people you don’t take their confidence away from them.’

Kweku Baako was heavily criticized on social media for stating that the delay in Caleb Kudah’s torture could have the effect of undermining the credibility of the journalist’s ordeal with the operatives of the National Security.

Baako in a long post on his Facebook page explained, “a journalist is released from security custody after 5 hours. He proceeds to his workplace after his release and is instructed to go home by his superiors and return to work the next day. The next day, the journalist is on air (in his station) alleging that he had been tortured whilst in security custody prior to his release. Prior to his disclosure of having been subjected to physical assault/torture, one of his superiors appeared on a major television network to recount what had happened to him (the arrested journalist) and the events which had transpired at the station of the media house (workplace of the arrested journalist) earlier that day. No hint of the reported physical assault or torture was/is communicated to the audience of the program or the nation.

“Apparently, this was because the physical assault or torture was unknown to the superiors of the arrested/incarcerated journalist at that point in time. And this was because the journalist was instructed to go home and rest. And return to work the next day. What if the effects of the reported torture had taken its toll on him the night before?”

He questioned why the management delayed reporting the physical torture of Caleb Kudah.

“For me, the allegation of physical assault or torture was/is a more significant feature of the unfolding saga. I called the management of the station and indicated that the omission of [or] delayed disclosure could have the effect of undermining the credibility of the subsequent disclosure and provide some sceptics and cynics with the basis to cast doubts on the significant disclosure. The decision not to run with the story of the physical assault or torture timeously was explained to me. I am/was told that there were good reasons for the delay. Emotional trauma among other reasons. I respectfully disagreed.

“…Going home to bath and report to work the following day or days could undermine the sanctity of evidence needed to make a case! Ask the lawyers!” the article further read.

Source : Ghanaweb

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