The Human Welfare Group of Ghana (HUGHA), a civil society organization established to safeguard the interest of the needy and vulnerable is calling for the release of a large number of men and women being detained for many months and years in police cells and prisons without trial.
In an official statement meant for the President, the Minister of the Interior, the Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Chief Justice, the group said it is wrong for remand prisoners and suspects to be held against their will in contravention with the rules of natural justice.
The statement which was released by the president of the group Mr. Alex Nortey said the release of 18 remand prisoners and other detainees later in the Justice for All Program was a Godly and humane act that is commendable
Notwithstanding the king gesture by the Chief Justice in helping to release those detainees, the statement said that move falls short of the expectation of many Ghanaians who are aware that many detainees who are yet to be tried do not have to be in prison
According to the statement it is not right for people to be locked up in prison wrongly adding that according to the tenets of criminal law everyone is innocent until he or she is found guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. Due to the increase in the number of suspects and remand prisoners most of the cell and prisons are full beyond their capacities. For example the Nsawam Prison which was originally meant for 800 prisoners is now managing to accommodate more than 3000 prisoners some of whom are just suspects especially women who are carrying babies
The statement said ‘it is sad to note that most of the remand prisoners whose dockets are missing do not have family members to fight to get them released’ adding that some of the detainees have been languishing in prisons beyond the terms of imprisonment of the offence for which they were detained.
The statement ended by saying that since most of the detainees are not going to be prosecuted anytime soon they must be released to go home
Source Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
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