06 July 2016

Death Sentence Amnesty International condemns Tamale woman’s death sentence

amnestyAmnesty International has described the death sentence handed to a 22-year-old trader by a Tamale High Court as pointless, as death sentences do not deter crime.

A five-member jury convicted Zeila Sulemana of murder. On April 11, 2014, Zeila Sulemana stabbed a nursing student Rawdia Aminu in the abdomen and chest at Lamashegu in the Northern Region. Rawdia was stabbed when an argument ensued between her and Zeila over Alhassan Abdul-Rahman (Rawdia’s boyfriend) who was also ex-boyfriend of Zeila.

Prosecutor of the case, Mr. Salia Qudus, narrated that the convict had earlier made friends with Aminu and introduced her (Aminu) to her parents as her friend. On the day of the incident the convict told Aminu that she wanted to hold a discussion with her outside her house. The convict is said to have questioned Aminu about Abdul Rahaman who was then boyfriend of Aminu. The conversation got heated and Zeila stabbed Aminu in her chest and abdomen leading to her death.

After hearing and considering the case, a five member jury unanimously pronounced Zelia guilty of murder.

Even though Ghana has not undertaken any executions since 1993, the number of death sentences as at 2015, was 18.

Director of Amnesty International Ghana Lawrence Amesu said “[The] death penalty must be abolished. It must be taken out from all legal documents of the country”. He called on judges to desist from handing death sentences to culprits even though it is still allowed per the constitution of the land.

“[The] death sentence is not an answer to a crime. It is unfortunate it is still in our constitution and the judges will continue ruling in such directions. Judges must move away from the death penalty and rather hand over years. A death sentence doesn’t deter crime, otherwise crime would have been stopped in countries that practice it”.

The death penalty should never be signed by Ghana’s president, current or future, he said.

“I am appealing to the president and subsequent ones after him, he should not sign this penalty. Nobody should be executed in Ghana.”

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