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24.05.2007 General News

Prisoners Bill before Parliament

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A Report of the Joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Defence and Interior on the Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill was laid before Parliament on Wednesday.

The current law on imprisonment does not permit the transfer of foreign nationals convicted and sentenced by Ghanaian courts for offences committed in Ghana from serving their sentences in their respective countries and vice versa.

The object of the Transfer of Convicted Persons is to enable Ghanaians convicted outside the country serve their sentences in Ghana and other foreign nationals convicted in Ghana to serve their sentences in their own countries.

According to the Report, the Extradition Act 1960, (Act 22) only permits a person accused of an offence committed outside Ghana to serve the term of imprisonment in Ghana where the Republic of Ghana has an extradition agreement with the other country.

"Further to this, the request for extradition of the accused person can only be made where the act or omission in question constitutes an offence in both jurisdictions. The above specified conditions for the transfer of accused or convicted person under the Extradition Act poses severe limitation," the Report added.

"The Commonwealth Secretariat has proposed a scheme to enact legislation to facilitate the transfer of convicted prisoners to address issues where extradition does not respond to the transfer of convict," it said.

So far not less than 25-member countries of the Commonwealth have enacted legislation in this regard.

The Report said President J A Kufuor continues to receive persistent requests during his visits abroad from citizens abroad for Ghanaian convicts to serve their prison terms in Ghana.

"The introduction of the Bill for consideration of this House was informed by the above stated concerns," it added.

Source: GNA

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