General News Sat, 3 Jun 2006

IGP Orders Investigations Into Baby's Detention

Mr. Patrick AcheampongTHE Police Administration has ordered the Ashanti Regional Police Commander to submit a full report on the incident that led to the detention of a five-month-old baby girl in a cell, as reported by the Ghanaian Times in its Wednesday, May 31 issue.

Commissioner of Police in charge of legal and special duties, George Asiamah, who made this known to the Times, described the detention of the baby by the police in Kumasi, as a ?serious human right abuse?. He said this after a roundtable discussion on torture prevention, organized by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in Accra on Thursday.

The meeting discussed ways of ensuring the ratification of the UN conventions against torture by Ghana.

The five-month-old baby girl spent the night behind bars with her mother, Kate Appiah following allegations against Ms Appiah, by a neighbour that she had stolen ў700,000 worth of cassava and plantain from a backyard farm.?

As a result of the complaint, the Ridge Police in Kumasi, detained not only Kate Appiah, but also her husband, Kwabena Korankye and their baby as well as her aunt, Stella Bonsu, because they could not provide surety for bail.

The baby was reported to have been taken ill after spending the night in the cell and had to be treated in hospital.


Mr. Asiamah said ?every police officer has knowledge of basic human rights as part of his/her training, and that the Administration has set up a Professional Intelligence and Standards Unit to deal with issues of human rights.?

He pointed out, however, that some women suspects deliberately took their babies to police stations in order to win sympathy from the police.

Ms Anna Bossman. Commissioner of CHRAJ, also expressed concern about the incident and stressed the need to find measures to protect people whose rights were violated.

She expressed the hope that by the end of this month Ghana would ratify all the UN conventions against torture.

Philippe Tremblay, campaign coordinator of Optional Protocol to the UN convention against torture, said ill-treatment and torture remained a reality in many countries, and expressed the hope that Ghana would be committed to the implementation of the protocols.

For his part, Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero, African Programme officer of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, stressed the importance of capacity building for law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations to enhance effective implementation of the conventions.

Source: Times