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20.08.2004 General News

He wants justice ... Petitions Kufuor

By Chronicle

Despite Ghana's reputed hospitality towards foreign nationals, many Ghanaians continue to be subjected to ruthless human rights abuses both at home and outside the country at the hands of foreigners. One of such victims is Mr. Samuel Emmanuel Opare, from Senfi, near Ashanti Bekwai.

Opare, as an immigrant working in Egypt, was involved in an industrial accident that resulted into the loss of his right arm and instead of being compensated, he was arrested and deported despite a court ruling in his favor.

He has since been seeking redress through the Ghana Foreign Ministry, which had been denied him by the Egyptians but no one seems to listen to him.

Mr. Opare has therefore petitioned President J. A. Kufuor for intervention. Narrating his ordeal to President Kufuor in the petition dated June 11, 2004, Opare said in 1993, he sojourned to the Republic of Egypt where he secured employment and worked for a while.

In May 1994, in the course of his employment, he was involved in an industrial accident as a result of which his right arm was subsequently amputated.

The Ghana Embassy in Cairo, he said, hired a lawyer for him who represented him in court and obtained a judgment in his favor that ordered his employers to pay him compensation for the injury he had sustained.

Opare further narrated that despite the court's order, the company refused to pay him his compensation because according to his employers, he was not under their insurance policy.

He said his lawyer could also not effect the execution of the payment because of the company's claim.

Opare said while this was ongoing, one morning he was arrested by the Egyptian authorities for not possessing a resident permit and detained him for over a month.

“One morning I woke up and realized that I was in hospital surrounded by the Embassy officials,” Opare explained.

“When I enquired from them what brought me there, they just told me I fell into coma. In fact I realized I had lost a second arm.” Opare stated.

The victim told the President that he was immediately deported to Ghana after he felt a little better and sent to the 37 Military Hospital where the stitches of his wounds were removed.

“Sir, at the hospital, I was informed to see the Legal Counselor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I followed up and I was directed to see Mr. Hassan Hall,” he continued.

“It was in his office that he showed me an Egyptian Newspaper that reported on what was purported to have happened to me,” he added.

Opare stated that the paper reported that he was run over by a train when the Egyptian authorities were taking him to an immigration cell.

He said the report was strange to him, because he could not recollect any such incident and besides as far as he knew he was never involved in any accident.

He therefore demanded a proper explanation from the Egyptians through the local Embassy as to how he came to lose his second arm and has now been totally incapacitated.

“Sir on my second day to the counselor's office, I realized not much was being done for me so I demanded my documents as sent from Egypt and especially the newspaper that reported the accident so that I can fight my own fight but to my surprise, I was told those documents including the newspaper cannot be found.” Opare asserted.

“I was asked to return to the Ministry after I had met Mr. Konadu Yandom who is the current head of Legal Counsel at the Foreign Ministry.

“He told me he invited the Egyptian Ambassador to Ghana for discussion on the matter but he failed to turn up,” Opare told the president.

When The Chronicle contacted Mr. Yandom at the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, he declined to comment on the issue and wondered how could Opare claim that there was nothing being done about his plight by the ministry.

“I have no comment on this issue,” he said.

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