My colleague and the co-owner of The Bush Chicken, Jefferson Krua, was arrested and charged with “terrorist threat” for taking a video recording of President George Weah’s motorcade in Monrovia.
Think about this for a moment. In most free countries, the act of taking a photo or video in a public place does not equate to making terrorist threats.
Jefferson was standing by the roadside as the president’s motorcade passed by. While taking the picture, two of the vehicles in the motorcade stopped and the people inside began pointing at him. They approached him, ordering him to turn over his phone so they could delete the recording.
Incredulous, he asked what law he was violating. After all, he had only recorded a video of the cars as they drove down the street. The president’s security forces wrestled him, forcing him into one of the cars. They continued to punch his head as they took him to a police station. Jefferson was charged with making terroristic threats and it took numerous phone calls to get him released.
I’m curious to know what law was violated by recording videos of President Weah’s motorcade. I’m also curious to know if it’s acceptable for the president’s men to use excessive force when interacting with a citizen who has simply snapped a photograph of the president’s motorcade as it passed by? Does the president feel this was justified? If so, why? Do the people feel it’s okay that a citizen – and journalist by the way – was roughed up by the president’s security forces simply for taking a picture?