NewsWest AfricaAmnesty International seeks release of jailed Ghanaian journalists, commentators

Mon,20Nov2017

Posted on Monday, 08 August 2016 11:09

Amnesty International seeks release of jailed Ghanaian journalists, commentators

By Dasmani Laary in Accra

Photo©Seth Perlman/AP/SIPAAmnesty International has urged Ghana President John Dramani Mahama to pardon a journalist and two commentators that were recently jailed over threats to kill some of the country's judges including the chief justice.

Salifu Maase, a radio talk show host and panelists, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, were in July each jailed for four months after they were found guilty of contempt court by the Supreme Court. They were also heavily fined by the courts.

Pardoning them does not mean that you are giving way for people to commit more crimes

Amnesty International country director for Ghana Lawrence Amesu said they believed that the trio had been punished enough following their incarceration.

"We believe that they can ask for a pardon and when that pardon is given we will accept it, the President has that prerogative of mercy to pardon people who are put into prison," Amesu said.

"If we believe that these people have realised their faults and are pleading for mercy, we will encourage the president to look at that if it is within his power to pardon them.

"Pardoning them does not mean that you are giving way for people to commit more crimes, many people are going to take a cue from this.

"At Amnesty, particularly for death penalties, we do fight for their rights even if they are in prison."

The charges against the trio were linked to a radio debate moderated by Masse and featured Nelson and Gunn where they questioned the credibility of Ghana's voters' roll early this year.

After they were jailed, their lawyers petitioned Mahama pleading with him to pardon them.

A pro-government pressure group known as Research and Advocacy Platform, also claimed to have gathered 18 million signatures on a petition urging the president to pardon the three.



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