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Bawku disturbances: Lawyer fumes over suspects’ detention beyond 48-hours

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An Accra Circuit Court has adjourned the hearing of the case involving the 12 persons said to be involved in the renewed Bawku chieftaincy disturbances to Wednesday, January 5, 2021.

This adjournment follows the absence of all suspects in court on Tuesday. The 12 were arrested following clashes in Bawku last Monday which led to the loss of lives and the destruction of property.

At the hearing on Tuesday, the lawyer for the accused persons, Martin Kpebu, prayed the court to grant the suspects bail after 8 days of detention.

However, a Deputy State Attorney, Frederick Adu Gyamfi, argued that his office is yet to receive the motion for bail application which lawyers for the suspects claimed had been served.

Martin Kpebu, the lawyer for the 12 suspects expressed disappointment in the conduct of the Attorney General’s office.

He said the suspects being held for the past eight days is illegal, and he is surprised that they were still not brought to court today, Tuesday.

“The AG has not been able to explain why they have not been able to bring our clients. These suspects were arrested eight days ago, and you fail to bring them to court when the constitution makes it clear that suspects must be brought to court within 48 hours of arrest. They are going to charge them for misdemeanour offenses. These are small offenses, and yet you keep them for 8 days turning the constitution on its head. This is too shameful. As for tomorrow, they must bring them because this is becoming so shameful,” he said.

A group calling itself the Bawku Mamprugu Youth Association in a press statement also said the continuous detention of the suspects is a violation of their human rights.

They said their detention almost a week after their arrest without taking them through the due process was unfair.

“We would want to make it clear to the government or the state that our kinsmen are being treated like animals who have been caged without any rights.”

“Our kinsmen, numbering 11 men and a woman, had been arrested and sent to Accra and locked up at various police cells. Our lawyers have done all that is legally possible for the police at the CID division of the police headquarters to release the suspects on bail either on police inquiry or before a court of competent jurisdiction as constitutionally required in respect of their fundamental human rights.”

The group also accused the Interior Minister of preventing the release of the suspects.

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