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03.12.2009 General News

Lawyers condemn soldiers for stripping suspects

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Accra, Dec. 3, GNA - The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on Thursday condemned the stripping naked of two suspects at Bawku and said the offending military personnel must be brought to book.

It also advised the victims to consider civil action for this breach of their human rights.

A statement signed by Mr Frank Beecham, National President, said the GBA recognised the severity of the situation in Bawku and appreciated the efforts that were being made to bring calm and sanity there.

"Notwithstanding the unfortunate and sad situation in that part of our country, nothing that is happening there should provide any justification for the treatment meted out to the two persons and possibly other persons yet t be revealed.

"There are laws in this country and elsewhere that oblige soldiers to treat prisoners with dignity and respect, even in war."

It described the action as "torture" saying the stripping and parading through the streets was "vicious, heartless, ruthless and cold blooded. It humiliated, debased and demeaned the gentlemen."

The statement said if the military personnel had any evidence that the two persons had committed any offences, they should have simply employed the due process to have the law of the land deal with them.

The lawyers said they were relieved at reports that some disciplinary actions had been taken or were being taken to get the offending soldiers disciplined, adding that in so doing, the perpetrators must have their constitutional rights respected in the disciplinary process as well.

"As a people, we must resolve to protect, defend and respect our Constitution by not turning a blind eye to the continued brutalisation of suspects by security personnel and other persons," the GBA said, adding that Article 15(1) provided that "the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable".


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