AWLA launches toll-free call platform to provide legal aid to remand suspects

General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2018-06-13

Betty Mould-Iddrisu is a former Attorney-General and the chairperson for the African Women Lawyers

The African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) of Ghana has launched a mobile-support platform to assist remand suspects in lawful custody with legal aid in resoling cases in court.

The initiative, under AWLA’s ‘Enhancing Justice Delivery through Innovative Participatory Approaches’ project is out doored to promote and increase access to justice delivery for remand prisoners in Ghana.

According to the Chairperson for AWLA, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, the non-profit organization has been propelled to take the action to counter delays owing to long and cumbersome court processes that breeds overcrowding in holding cells.

Speaking at a short ceremony in Accra to inaugurate the programme Wednesday, June 13, 2018, the Former Attorney-General acknowledged that the state intervention, Justice for All Programs (JFAP) streamlined to bring justice to remand suspects is not achieving its course in justice delivery, therefore, the association is taking extra steps to improve the implementation program through citizen engagements.

“…the main objective of the project is to empower citizens to demand justice for remand prisoners. This action is informed by the recognition that access to justice in Ghana has often been frustrated by delays which are occasioned by long and cumbersome court processes,” she stated.

Betty Mould-Iddrisu credited the situation which has contributed to the huge, unprecedented prison population and its deplorable conditions to circumstances of some citizen’s unfamiliarity with the laws of the land, saying, “Citizenry themselves, especially women do not have a good knowledge of either the law, the criminal justice system and their rights as women,”

The legal practitioner urged family, friends and more importantly suspects on remand to take advantage of the program while it lasts.

The new Toll-Free/SMS Platform is part of the African Woman Lawyers Association’s several interventions to provide justice for all.

It offers the general public and suspects on remand the opportunity to get legal practitioners to provide them wit adequate legal services to ensure their cases are settled aptly.

Lawyers have volunteered to represent prisoners assigned to them, take instructions from them and represent the during the hearing of cases.

Although the service is free it does not apply for ex-convicts owing to the terms and conditions that come with it.

The designated number for the Toll-Free/SMS service is; 03070848567.

The African Woman Lawyers Association is a non-governmental and non-profit organization that promotes the democratic and human rights of citizens, particularly women, children and other marginalized citizens.

The project, funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is expected to take place within a span of one year beginning March 2018 to April 2019.

At the end of the period the project is expected to ensure:

1. Effective tracking of remand issues in Ghana’s prisons

2. Increased and timely response to issues affecting remand prisoners

3. Improved justice delivery for remand prisoners in Ghana

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