Arresting people for attempted ‘juju’ on Nana Addo unconstitutional – Xavier Sosu
A human rights lawyer, Francis Xavier Sosu is challenging the authority of the police in their arrest of two persons alleged to have gone to a shrine in the Volta Region to cast spells on some senior government officials including President Akufo-Addo and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
According to him, no aspect of the constitution criminalizes the exercise of people’s religious rights in the country.
Speaking to Citi News in the Central Region during the 70th International Human Rights Day, Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu said the action by the police suggests that it could also barge into Churches to arrest persons who pray against other officers of state.
“There is no law that enjoins law enforcement officers to go and arrest people just on suspicion of some exercise of religious right or spellcasting or anything like that we have in this case.
The law that allows the police to arrest only says that a police can arrest upon reasonable suspicion of a crime. When you hear allegations of people casting spells and exercising such religious rights you don’t go about arresting them and I don’t think that is right in the first place,” he said.
Citi News reported earlier this week that two persons had been arrested in the Volta Region for attempting to cast a spell on key state officials who they believe were pushing for the creation of the Oti Region out of the Volta Region.
According to the Volta Regional Police Commander, DCOP Ebenezer Francis Doku, the suspects were from Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region and had visited a shrine on Wednesday, December 5, at Weta in the Ketu North Municipality of the Region, to put the political leaders under the control of black magic.
The police officers who made the arrest found a white paper on one of the suspects that had the names of the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo; Dr. Archibald Yaw Letsa the Volta regional minister; Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensah, chairperson for the Electoral Commission; Mr. Justice Brobbey, Chairman for the Commission of Enquiry on creation of the new regions; the Minister for Regional Reorganization, Mr. Dan Botwe; and Dr. Obed Asamoah.
The list also had Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who the suspects believe supports the creation of the proposed Oti Region.
The young men were granted bail on Saturday.
But Mr. Sosu says the arrest of the two indicates that the police lack a proper understanding of the constitution.
“It is also important for us to know that what the police rather did is a violation of the fundamental rights of these citizens. Every person has the right to religion and to fully manifest it.
“We all know how people exercise their religious rights. You go to churches, people pray, to pray against people they claim are their enemies and so on so if the police can go about arresting people from shrines because they took some names which include the name of the president to cast spells, it means that the police will have to start going to churches. Wherever you meet people are praying against ministers of state or the president, you need to arrest them.
“There is no place in our laws for this kind of arrest. It must not only be condemned but we must demand that the police never repeat such actions again.”
Lawyer Sosu further stressed that the two persons should be entitled to some compensations because their rights have been infringed upon.
He called on the Attorney General and other actors in the justice sector to ensure a fair resolution to the matter.