Journalists restricted from covering Kuel’s court session

By Mary Poni

Journalists were threatened and told by the security organs not to use any journalistic gargets to record and cover the court proceedings of Kuel Aguer Kuel yet it’s an open court session.

Kuel Aguer is the former Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State who had been under detention for a year now after he was arrested in connection to the unpopular People’s Coalition for Civil Action or PCCA movement thwarted by the government.

He is being accused of an attempt to overthrow the sitting government and crime against the nation among others and he’s currently under trial on those charges. However, his defense lawyer had earlier complained of being denied access to his client (Kuel) as he asked the court to grant him and Kuel’s family access amid the court proceedings.

Journalists are not exceptional when it comes to dealing with Kuel court proceedings as reporters who went to attend the court sessions were intimidated by the security in the court.

The defense lawyer to the accused also requested the judges at least to allow the journalists to cover the event till the end, saying they (journalists) should be given maximum time for questions or press briefing by the defense lawyers or any person they choose to interview.

Despite the request by the lawyers, security officers during the court sessions yesterday still restricted journalists from neither taking notes nor recording; they also barred the media from talking to anyone connected to the accused.

One of the defense lawyers who didn’t want his name mentioned, argued that it is the mandate of the journalists to do coverage as it is the role of the media to make the public aware of what is happening in the Country and beyond.

Sumaya Salieh, one of the judges at the special high court in Juba said journalists are only given three minutes to do coverage beyond that, they are not allowed to do any coverage and as judges, they are not answerable.

However, more than two journalists were sent out of the court hall when they were found taking notes inside the court after being asked not to record the session.

The incident had instilled fear in some of the journalists who were frustrated with the action of the security and they had promised not to cover any court case if that could be the situation journalists are put into as criminals.

Comments are closed.