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General News Tue, 16 Jul 2019

Afoko saga: 'Rule of law gone to sleep under Akufo-Addo' – Right Alliance Ghana

A pressure group, Right Alliance Ghana, has called for the release of Mr Gregory Afoko, one of the suspects standing trial for the alleged murder of the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Adam Mahama.

An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Merley Wood, on Monday, 15 July 2019 quashed the earlier bail granted by another High Court judge, Justice George Buadi in March this year.

Although the suspect met all the bail conditions, the state ignored the court’s ruling and continued to hold the suspect in custody for about three months.

The state, represented by Marina Appiah Opare, on Monday prayed the court to rescind the earlier bail arguing that given the circumstances of the charges and punishment, Mr Afoko, if granted bail, will not appear for the trial.

The court granted the state’s request and reversed the bail, a decision that has sparked public rage with some critics questioning the government’s rule of law credentials.

In a statement released on Tuesday, 16 July 2019 and jointly signed by its Executive Secretary, Alhaji Sani Mohammed and the Director of Communication, King Khorby, the group bemoaned the acts of human “rights violation and abuse under President Akufo Addo’s watch since he was sworn into office on January 7, 2017.”

It noted that: “Such abuses have taken place right from the presidency, through to the courts and constituencies to the streets and ghettos and our President seems oblivious of them all. Now, the Police Service, as an institution, and the courts are leading the charge in these human rights abuses and violations.”

According to the group, it is becoming more certain each day that Ghanaians are “now in a banana republic and the rule of law has soundly gone to sleep. Otherwise, why would a murder suspect who has been in police custody since 2015 still be kept by the police after a court of competent jurisdiction has ruled to grant him bail four clear months after the ruling?”, adding that the case of “Gregory Afoko is a running sore on the face of our national claims to being a stable and exemplary democracy in the sub-region.”

It said the trial of Mr Afoko has “stalled for a long time with the State Attorney even expressing disinterest in continuing the prosecution, particularly as another suspect has been apprehended. Now, a bail application is filed by his lawyers and a High Court rules to grant him bail. The State Prosecutors appeal the ruling at another High Court and the Court of Appeal both of which are dismissed. Four months on, the Police are still holding him and it seems all human rights institutions and advocates are dazed into silence.”

“Worse of all, the state files a fresh appeal in the same High Court that gives the initial ruling but this time with a different judge presiding and the court rescinds the earlier ruling granting the bail. This turn of events only leaves true believers in democracy and rule of law gaping in amazement. It is as if the government is conspiring with all state institutions to oppress and suppress Ghanaians,” the statement indicated.

The group also stated that it feels “really scandalised by this disgusting trend” and is adding its voice to “the call from genuine apostles of democracy for the immediate release of Gregory”

It, therefore, believes that the continued detention of Mr Afoko “is an affront to democracy and a travesty of justice” and called on government to “release Gregory Afoko Now!”

Source: classfmonline.com