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Journalists intimidated, prevented from covering trial

(MFWA/IFEX) - A crowd of sympathizers of Abubakari Nallah, a suspected drug criminal being tried for narcotic-related offences, intimidated and prevented a group of journalists from covering the trial of Nallah and nine officials of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) at an Accra High Court on 9 September 2011.

The sympathizers are believed to be officials and supporters of the Accra-based premier league football club Tudu Mighty Jets, which Nallah, also known as Abu Sondoko, owns.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) learnt that the men, who outnumbered the police personnel, created a chaotic scene and prevented most of the journalists from entering the court premises. Those who were seated in the court room were also intimidated. A crew from TV3 had to leave to avoid being attacked by the angry supporters.

Some of Nallah's supporters warned the journalists not to attempt to take pictures or to write anything negative about Nallah, or else they would "deal with them."

Sammy Darko and Daniel Oduro, two reporters from Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station, who filed a report on the behaviour of the sympathizers on their station, had to stay in a room near the Judge's chamber for close to three hours. They were only freed after the police called for reinforcements.

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