14 Instances Of Abuses, Impunity Mentioned In US Department of State Report On Ghana Police

14 Instances Of Abuses, Impunity Mentioned In US Department of State Report On Ghana Police

  • The US Department of State report for 2021 has given a damning verdict on law enforcement in Ghana
  • The report cites numerous instances of abuse of human rights, unprofessional conduct, illegality, and impunity against the police
  • Recent brutalities against some Ghanaian journalists and activists were captured in the exhaustive report

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An influential report by the US Department of State on human rights issues in Ghana has provided 14 specific examples of abuses and impunity by the Ghana Police Service.

The report disclosed that significant human rights issues like torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment were carried out by the government or its agencies.

While Ghana’s laws prohibit such abuses and impunity, the US Department of State report stated that there were credible reports that police beat and abused detained suspects and other citizens.

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Police brutality
Policemen tackle an unknown suspect. Source: Facebook/@LMMTV
Source: Facebook

YEN.com.gh presents below 14 specific instances of abuse, illegality, and unprofessional conduct by the police and other law enforcement agencies mentioned in the report.

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1. On June 26, 2021, unidentified perpetrators beat #FixTheCountry movement supporter and social activist Ibrahim “Kaaka” Muhammed in Ejura, Ashanti Region.

On June 28, he died in the hospital from his injuries. Muhammed, also a member of the Economic Fighters League (EFL), was a vocal anti-corruption activist, and #FixThe Country had protested against restrictions on freedom of assembly.

EFL reported that Muhammed had received threats due to his activism, and police had warned him before his beating and death against disturbing the peace.

2. On June 29, 2021 during protests in the wake of his death, security forces shot and killed two persons.

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3. During the 2020 election, there were as many as eight killings, with at least two killed by the National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF). The taskforce was made up of military and police personnel.

4. According to the Conduct in UN Field Missions online portal, there was one open allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse by Ghana’s peacekeepers deployed to the UN Mission in South Sudan – a 2018 case involving 12 peacekeepers’ alleged transactional sex with six adults.

A UN investigation substantiated some of those allegations, leading the United Nations to repatriate the alleged offenders.

As of December 2021, the UN awaited reporting from the government of Ghana regarding what actions it has taken in response to the allegations the United Nations considered to be substantiated.

5. In September 2021, the Prisons Service reported overcrowding of 135% of capacity, with a prison population of 13,480 compared to a total prison capacity of 9,945 inmates.

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6. On May 20, 2021, police arrested 21 members of the LGBTQI+ community in Ho on spurious unlawful assembly charges. Authorities released the activists on June 11 and dropped the case on August 5.

7. In April 2021, authorities arrested online news editor David Tamakloe, allegedly working on corruption stories concerning prominent members of the government. Authorities released him without charge. Media advocates characterised the arrest as a “preemptive move” and a “clear abuse of power” as no story had been published at the time of the arrest.

8. On May 11, 2021, Ministry of National Security officers detained and allegedly brutalised Caleb Kudah, a journalist with Omni Media Limited (OML), operator of Accra-based Citi FM radio and Citi TV. Authorities accused Kudah of filming a fleet of vehicles that had allegedly fallen into despair due to neglect at the Ministry of National Security facility, a restricted site.

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9. On July 9, 2021, Assin Central Region Member of Parliament Kennedy Ohene Agyapong called for Erastus Asare Donkor, a journalist with Luv FM, to be “beaten and whipped” during a live television interview.

10. On May 5, 2021 radio station Angel FM suspended popular morning show host Godsbrain Smart for allegedly slandering senior government officials in accusing them of inaction on corruption and calling them “fools.”

11. Police used tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets on opposition demonstrators protesting the December 2020 election results.

12. On June 25, 2021, authorities arrested 11 members of the #FixTheCountry movement as they protested outside the Accra High Court as it considered an application to extend indefinitely a previously approved injunction against public assembly.

13. On February 2, 2021 the local NGO LGBT+ Rights Ghana inaugurated its new office space in the Ashongman area of Accra. After anti-LGBTQI+ activists complained in local media concerning the existence of the center, on February 15, police raided the center and closed it. The center remained closed at year’s end.

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14. On March 27, 2021, police arrested 22 persons in Kwahu-Obomeng, Eastern Region, for participating in an alleged lesbian wedding. Police arrived at a popular community location in response to reports that two women planned to be married. Police justified the arrests on the grounds the venue’s owner complained participants were violating COVID-19 protocols. Authorities released them due to lack of evidence.

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George Nyavor (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) George Nyavor writes for YEN.com.gh. He has been Head of the Politics and Current Affairs Desk since 2022. George has over 9 years of experience in managing media and communications (Myjoyonline and GhanaWeb). George is a member of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners Ghana (CAMP-G). He obtained a BA in Communications Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Reach out to him via george.nyavor@yen.com.gh.

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