Police probes scribe’s arrest

KIGALI - THE Commissioner General of National Police, Andrew Rwigamba yesterday said he would investigate why The New Times photo-journalist, George Barya, was arrested for taking businessman Assinapol Rwigara’s photographs on Thursday.

BY IGNATIUS SSUUNA

KIGALI - THE Commissioner General of National Police, Andrew Rwigamba yesterday said he would investigate why The New Times photo-journalist, George Barya, was arrested for taking businessman Assinapol Rwigara’s photographs on Thursday.
Barya was on Thursday briefly held at Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after he took several photos of Rwigara as the latter emerged out of CID chief Costa Habyara’s car, a Suzuki Vitara.
Rwigara who has been in hiding since his construction site killed three workers in a landslide accident in July 12 surrendered to Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga on Thursday, who later handed him over to CID.

And since police have been hunting him down, when he resurfaced, he was a hot item for journalists and the public at large.
“I have just read it in the papers and it is bad. I am going to investigate the mater,” Rwigamba said yesterday on phone.

Barya said he was manhandled and forced to remove his shoes before the police confiscated his digital camera and deleted Rwigara’s photos.
He said he was detained for nearly an hour and forced to sit down on the floor.

“They were asking me why I was taking Rwigara’s pictures without police permission,” Barya said in an interview yesterday. He said police at first mistook him to be Godwin Agaba, a fellow journalist at The New Times. “Before I identified myself, everybody was interested to know whether I was called Agaba,” he said.
The Police Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, Mary Gahonzire, for declined to comment, referring this reporter to police spokesperson Inspector Marcel Willy Higiro.

Higiro said Barya could have been detained for illegal entry into CID premises.
“Police place is not accessible to everybody. You have to first identify yourself before you enter,” he said. Higiro however declined to comment when asked why police had to delete the photographs.
CID boss Habyara also said he had launched investigations into the incident.

“After deleting the photos, one police officer went out apparently to consult with someone, before he came back saying that I should be released. Well, I was released but badly treated,” he said.

Efforts to reach the Minister of Information Prof. Laurent Nkusi for a comment were futile as he could not answer his phone.

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