"Treatment of Journalists in Liberia is Horrendous," says Prof. Karikari

By Abraham Zoedae

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

January 15, 2002

"The kinds of treatment meted against journalists and members of civil society organizations in Liberia is intolerable and too horrendous," Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Professor Kwame Karikari, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Speaking from his offices in Accra, Ghana, Professor Karikari said he had seen several victims of torture but described victims of the Liberian government security officials as those "brutalized and left in absolute mess."

"Throble Suah was an absolute mess and completely devastated and those who knew him were in complete shock at his condition," Karikari said. Throble Suah was attacked and severely beaten by security officers on December 14th, while on his way home after seeing a visitor off in Monrovia. After hospitals in Liberia said they were unable to treat Throble because of his worsen condition, the Media Foundation for West Africa arranged for the journalist

to be flown to Ghana for advanced medical treatment. Karikari said when Suah was brought in, he could not stand nor walk unaided and had lost his sight. "Yesterday, Suah regained his sight after hours of work by over nine specialists including neurologists, eye specialists, surgeons and other specialists and doctors," he said.

He further said, among those working of Journalist Suah is Dr. Edmund N. Delle who runs the Center for Medicine and Human Rights, one of Africa's outstanding human rights organizations. Dr Belle is himself a doctor who deals in the cases of "Torture."

The Media Foundation boss said the doctors are still continuing their diagnosis and treatment of the journalist. He said he is awaiting the doctors' report and will decide on what strategies to use in continuing his campaign to draw attention to the human rights abuses carried out by the Liberian government against journalists and others in that West African country. Karikari said he could not say what would be the total outcome of Suah's treatment but assured that the journalist is been treated by some of the "best doctors."

Since its establishment, the Media Foundation for West Africa has served as a refuge for politicians, journalists, activists with civil society organizations especially from Liberia. Some Liberians that have publicly benefited from the Foundation are Conmany Wesseh, of the Center for Democratic Empowerment, Human Rights Lawyer Tiawan Saye Gongloe, Journalist Hassan Bility and now journalist Throble Suah. The Media Foundation for West is a regional independent NGO established in 1997 to promote media rights in West Africa.