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They Were Detained Incommunicado: How Political Prisoners Suffered In The Hands Of Rawlings

What could have inspired the National Public Tribunal judge a certain group of people, alleged to have particular political beliefs, without following the due legal procedures? The judges and lawyers who were part of the cases involving these labelled Ghanaians possibly had a particular entrenched reason. But as to whether what they did was right in the sight of their Maker still remains a mind-boggling scenario left for my readers to judge by the end of this discussion.

Obviously, they were working based on orders from above, and I think some had a very limited say in whatever happened in that era. But some of the brave ones left the country to avoid involvement in certain cases, preferably referred to as inhumane and unjust. What is more serious about this is that most of prisoners tagged as political rebels were charged without any justifiable reason, or according to legal principles. Additionally, those in the diaspora faced a similar situation, when returning to Ghana. Wealthy businessmen were sometimes detained, and ransoms were taken from them before finally releasing them.

Back then, the Chairman of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the Leader responsible for National Security and Foreign Affairs, Captain (Retired) Kojo Tsikata vehemently endorsed and authorised Political Detention in Ghana. Probably, they could not sustain or bear with the volume and gravity of pressure that was coming from the youth, opposition leaders and other concerned citizens at that time.

Within three years (from 1983 to 1986), under the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings (Papa John's), 90 people were charged and tried in political related cases. Out of this number, 23 persons were executed while 50 were sentenced to death. Reliable reports have revealed that most of them faced these punishments because they had allegedly been involved in issues such as an unsuccessful coup attempts and conspiracies to overthrow the ruling Government. The sad thing is that most of them were detailed 'Incommunicado' which basically means, they were denied access to lawyers, their families, as well as appropriate healthcare or medical care for a long period of time. This is the inhumane treatment I made mention of earlier.

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Content created and supplied by: Ghana'sthirdeye (via Opera News )

National Public Tribunal Rawlings


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