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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Incarcerated Entertainment Journalist-Prezo Koroma: A Victim of Circumstance

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Sierra Leonean entertainment journalist and DJ, Ibrahim Koroma aka Prezo Koroma is still languishing at the Male Correctional Centre on Pa Demba Road in Freetown, following his arrest and detention four months ago.

Prezo Koroma and 11 others were arrested at the OSD Headquarters (nicknamed Benghazi custody holding center) in Freetown on the 15th June 2022 for alleged ‘riotous conduct and disorderly behaviour’.

Following the arbitrary arrest of popular rapper, Alhaji Amadu Bah, commonly known as LAJ on Sunday 12th June 2022, Prezo Koroma and others went to the Court building on Pa Demba Road hoping to witness the hearing of LAJ’s matter as it was earlier speculated. Everybody waited in vain, the matter was not even charged at the material time.

After waiting in vain, Prezo Koroma and others, including family members of Boss LAJ went to the OSD Headquarters (Benghazi) to find out from the Police about the arrest of LAJ. Eyewitnesses say that they were arrested and detained on arrival without putting any resistance or violence conduct.

It is appalling to learn that a journalist could be arrested and detained for merely doing his job, which is, to investigate from the Police about the arrest of an entertainer and report the facts, rather than to speculate.

As he wished to report a balanced and credible story on a matter that has attracted public interest, this opportunity was denied him by the Police and he was instead arrested and detained with other visitors and later charged to court with ‘riotous conduct and disorderly behaviour’.

Prezo Koroma and others were arraigned before Magistrate Mark Ngegba and they were tried in just one week and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Many believe there was no sufficient evidence from the State Prosecutors but they were found guilty and sent back to prison. There was no consideration by the Magistrate to consider that they were first-time offenders, by thus imposing fines on them and provided for by law.

Prezo Koroma and others have filed in an appeal to High Court, for an opportunity to review the matter and get a fair judgement. The Defense is led by Lawyer Pa Momoh Fofanah and Lawyer Charles Pujeh.

The appealed matter came up on August 24th before Justice Adrian Fischer at High Court No. 1 in Freetown. There has been no hearing yet since it was appealed, as there are documents requested from the State Counsel to provide. This has caused injustice to the accused persons who are still behind bars.

Prezo Koroma has been one of the most vibrant and professional Entertainment journalists who is dedicated to do his job with professionalism and within the dictates of the law and media ethics.

He is the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone DJs Union (SLeDU), a Radio Presenter of the Prezo Koroma Junction and Manage De Damage programs on Sierra Network TV and Kalleone Radio respectively.

His arrest and detention has been a big blow to the entertainment industry in Sierra Leone, and it has further dampened the spirit of journalists who may wish to continue their professional job, in entertainment reporting. The question still remains – ‘why was Prezo Koroma arrested?’

(C) The Calabash Newspaper

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