Reporters Without Borders notes that Tunde Williams, the main suspect in the murder of Ibrahim Foday, a reporter for the daily The Exclusive stabbed to death in June 2011, was arrested on 3 November.
Foday, 38, had been covering a land dispute between two communities on the outskirts of the capital, Freetown. Three people were arrested at the time but were quickly released.
“The perseverance of the police authorities in this investigation is most encouraging,” the press freedom organization said. “We hope that it will run its course and lead to the punishment of those who carried out the crime and those behind it. Such an outcome would demonstrate that the Sierra Leone authorities do not allow violations of freedom of information to go unpunished.”
The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has nonetheless requested a fuller investigation into the role of others suspected to be implicated in Foday’s murder.
15.06.2012 - Three suspects arrested in journalist’s murder, police urged to produce hard evidence
The Freetown police announced yesterday that they have arrested three suspects in the murder of Ibrahim Foday, a reporter for the daily The Exclusive, who was fatally stabbed during clashes on 12 June between residents of Grafton and Kossoh Town, two communities on the outskirts of the capital. Foday had been covering a land dispute between the two communities.
“We are deeply shocked by this appalling crime and we join the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists in calling on the authorities to carry out a full investigation,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard.
“The ability of the police to arrest those responsible and the ability of the courts to convict them hold the key to preventing any recurrence of deadly violence against a journalist, which is fortunately rare in Sierra Leone. The investigation must produce hard evidence.”
Witnesses said Foday, 37, was stabbed several times in the back and chest and died while being taken to hospital. This was confirmed by the autopsy.
The last journalist to be murdered in Sierra Leone was Harry Yansaneh of the independent newspaper For Di People in 2005. He died on 28 July 2005, three months after a severe beating by thugs in the pay of Fatmata Hassan Lomeh, then a parliamentary representative of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. His murderers are still at large.
Sierra Leone is ranked 91st out of 178 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Photo : Ibrahim Foday