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21 August 2017

Human rights group threatens to sue gov’t over ‘police recklessness’

The Youth for Human Rights Africa (YoHRA), has said that it will sue government at an international court over alleged police recklessness that has caused a young man to be paralysed.

YoHRA says Stephen Arthur has become paralysed because police were reckless.

“YoHRA intends, as a matter of urgency, to issue a writ against the government of Ghana before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja as efforts are being made to also get some local remedies. YoHRA will use local, regional and international human rights instruments to protect the life of Stephen,” Christopher Selorm Ankou, Director of Communications for YoHRA, said in a statement on Thursday, August 17.

Stephen Arthur, recounted the incident which left him paralysed in 2011 during an interview on an Accra-based TV station.

“On 4th January 2011, while I was travelling from Boduasi to Kasoa in the back seat of a private car, the driver was stopped by a police officer at the Boduasi barrier to demand his New Year ‘gift’ and the driver gave the officer GHS10.

 

“While conversation was still going on between the driver and the police officer, another officer at post came around to also demand same but the driver was reluctant and was asked to drive away by the officer who had received his ‘gift’.

“It was only when he [the driver] heard a loud sound from the back of his car accompanied by a spontaneous loud cry from me from the back seat – by which time I had gone into comma – that he stopped.”

 

Stephen said he later woke up at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where he was admitted for a while and asked to go home because he could not afford the bills.

When his health started deteriorating rapidly, the attention of the police was called through a letter to the headquarters and subsequently he was admitted at the Police Hospital.

While on admission, Stephen said he was visited by the then IGP, Paul Tawiah Quaye, who bought him a wheel chair and promised him some compensation which never materialized.

Stephen added that the current IGP has also visited and made promises which are yet to be fulfilled.

The group says the state was under an obligation to ensure the safety of every citizen, and for this reason, an appropriate compensation must be paid to Stephen to cater for himself.

Mr Ankou was of the view that, “The reluctance of the Ghana Police Service and the state to prosecute the police officer who clearly was engaged in an act of corruption, and the neglect of Stephen for the past six years, was in breach of his human rights as contained in the African Charter On Human And People’s Right specifically Articles 4, 5 and 7, and the United Nations Declaration Of Human Rights, and Chapter Five of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana that guarantees Stephen’s Security, Health, Life and dignity as a Human being.

“The continuous breach of these inalienable rights is unacceptable and we must all help the poor victim assert his right through every rightful and legal means.”

The group further called on the general public to come to the aid of Stephen, “who has been abandoned at the Police Hospital only to the mercy of benevolence”.

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