The Chief Executive Officer of the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), Joseph Wemakor has implored the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately intervene and do the needful to extend his pardon to all prisoners languishing on death row including those serving life prisons sentences in the condemned cells of the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons in Ghana.
Mr. Wemakor equally appealed to Nana Akufo-Addo to completely strike out the death penalty from the statutes of Ghana to guarantee successive governments the freedom to govern freely without being pursued to sign the death warrant of condemned prisoners on death row to be killed for the crime committed.
“I would like to use this opportunity to plead with our President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
You have heard from us extensively; our press releases have been circulated widely, you have seen us on TV, heard from us on radio. Our appearance here today is simply a testament to our numerous calls on you to do the needful”.
The celebrated journo cum a staunch human rights activist gave the plea while discussing on the topic: “Abolition of the Death Penalty” alongside a member of Action By Christians Against Torture (ACAT Ghana), John Gay Akortia on the HB Pulse on Homebase TV on Thursday October 13, 2022.
The show hosted by Victoria Beeko, was an avenue to educate the public on why the need to abolish the death penalty and equally appealed to the President, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to intervene and grant amnesty to all prisoners on death row and life sentences.
Initiated by the Action By Christians Against Torture (ACAT Ghana) in collaboration with the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) and spearheaded by the Federation of International Action By Christians Against Torture (FIACAT), the TV discussion show was part of activities to mark the 20th World Day Against Death Penalty which falls on October 10, 2022.
This year’s celebration being the 20th edition in commemoration, rallied around a global theme: “Death penalty: a road paved with torture” has witnessed the two vibrant rights advocacy groups; Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) and the ACAT Ghana coming together with various activities and actions in support of the global call for universal abolition of capital punishment in Ghana and beyond.
Some activities staged group to mark this year’s World Day Against Death Penalty include a visit to the Nsawam prisons of Ghana (Monday October 4, 2022) where leadership of both groups fraternized with the inmates and also donated assorted items such as sanitary pads, toiletries, antiseptics, bottled mineral water, tooth brushes and soft drinks among others to put smiles on the faces of the inmates.
It also include a collection of signatures on a petition in support of advocacy towards abolition of death penalty in Ghana which was signed by many advocates and presented to the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Ho Central, Mr. Divine Bosson to be delivered to the President Akufo-Addo.
This follows an issuance of a press statement, released and copied to the Ghanaian media which received the widest publication on all media platforms including series of appearances on the Ghanaian major traditional media outlets (TV and radio shows) to discuss the issue, create awareness and educate the public on the abolition of death penalty in Ghana.
Mr. Wemakor in an interview with the show host opines that his outfit collaborating with ACAT Ghana to mark the day was the surest way to go to achieve results since various calls from advocates on local, national, regional and international level on the authorities to take action and help abolition the death penalty from the laws of Ghana has hit a snag.
For his part, Mr. John Gay Akortia, an ex-convict and a member of ACAT Ghana team believes the President has erred by failing to honor the provision under Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which accords him the right to exercise the ‘prerogative of mercy’ every year to free prisoners.
While lamenting that for the past 3 years, the President has failed to take that action, a situation contributing to deteriorating health conditions of the inmates in the condemned cells of the Nsawam prison and called on him to be quick in action.
Watch the full video of the discussion here