AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Ghana has praised President Nana Akufo-Addo for decongesting Ghana’s prisons by granting amnesty to 794 more prisoners on June 30, 2020.
A release signed by Country Director of Amnesty International, Mr Robert Akoto Amoafo, said “this is the second amnesty President has granted this year since he granted amnesty to 808 prisoners earlier in the year.”
According to him, statistics obtained by Amnesty International Ghana show that Ghana’s prisons were overcrowded by 55.5% in 2019.
The carceral (prison) population was 15,463 instead of 9,945 standard capacity.
“Having the President grant amnesty to prisoners at this time of a pandemic is not only a good thing but [also] a critical step to ensuring limited spread of Covid-19 in the prisons,” Mr Amoafo stated.
“It also shows Ghana’s commitment to work towards decongesting our already overcrowded prisons.”
“It is, therefore, important that the government desist from putting in place laws that promotes custodial sentencing like the EI 164 which prescribes as one of its sanctions a custodial sentence of 4-10 years for a person found without a facemask.”
He said as a petty offence, we do not believe it will help the already dire situation of overcrowding in our prisons. We would also like to call on the government to provide a dedicated health facility to the Ghana Prisons Service to attend to prisoners who may be infected with Covid-19 to ensure they are able to control the security situation of the prisoners,” she stated.
Mr Amoafo said as a human rights organisation, “we will continue to work with government and our various stakeholders to promote the human rights of all persons.”
“We encourage government to put human rights at the centre of measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana.
Source: Ghana/Dailyheritage.com/By Philip Antoh