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26.03.2009 News

Why Innocent Person Languish In Prison

By News Desk

The Executive Director of the Legal Resource Centre, Tuinese Edward Amuzu says flaws in the country's judicial system have landed many innocent citizens in prison. He has, therefore called for a review of the judicial system, saying that the government must think through the system.

Speaking at the launch of the death penalty statistics by Amnesty International in  Accra on Tuesday, Mr Amuzu said.

Several people have been unjustly convicted and are languishing in the country's prisons.”

Asked by the Times what he meant by flaws in the judicial system,” Mr Amuzu said, “we don't have a system which gives people fast and fair trials,” adding that the country's judiciary lacked resources and as a result, most lawyers rushed their cases.

He also noted that a lot of the citizens were not able to seek legal services due to poverty.

As to how to deal with the flaws in the judicial system, Mr Amuzu stressed the need for education and capacity building and called for the separation of the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice.

On the death penalty, he said life is a fundamental human right the he Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention Against Torture explicitly denounce cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment as a violation of human rights.

The 2008 Death Penalty Statistics report by the Amnesty International revealed that at least 2,390 were executed in 25 countries and in Ghana three people convicted to death penalty last year, but were commuted to life imprisonment   by the former president.

It also said at least 8,864 people were sentenced to death in 52 countries around the world.

The report also  revealed that more people were executed in Asia in 2008 than in the rest of the world put together.

“At least 1,838 (76%) of all total reported executions were carried out by Asian States,” said the report which named the Middle East and North Africa as the second region with the highest number of executions in 2008.