16.03.2005 General News

CHRAJ Investigates Human Rights Abuses

By Graphic
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THE Ghana Police Service and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) are investigating a complaint by a Ghanaian human rights journalist, Mr Ato Kwamena Dadzie, against some officers at the Cantonments Police Station for allegedly assaulting and wrongfully detaining him.

Mr Dadzie had filed a complaint with the Monitoring and Inspection Unit (MIU) of the Ghana Police Service at the Police Headquarters and the Complaints Unit of CHRAJ, both in Accra.

He alleged that an officer at the Cantonments Police Station slapped him a couple of times and stepped hard on his feet with the intention of hurting him simply because the officers at the station thought he was being “too known” by insisting on his rights.

In his petition, Mr Dadzie called on the police administration to investigate the matter and bring the officers concerned to book.

He also demanded an unqualified apology from the Ghana Police Service and the Cantonments Police Station in particular for the human rights abuses he suffered at the hands of the officers.

Narrating circumstances that led to his ordeal to the Daily Graphic, Mr Dadzie said in early February this year, his uncle, Mr Emmanuel Kwadwo Anim-Otchere, resident in Wales, U. K., instructed him to take custody of an Opel Astra car with registration number WR 1220 U from his wife in Takoradi.

He said subsequently, he bought an engine and fitted it in the car and brought it to Accra for his personal use, pending further instructions from his uncle.

Mr Dadzie said on Saturday, March 5, 2005, his uncle's wife, Mrs Christina Anim-Otchere, went to his house with two gentlemen to take the car away but he explained to her that he could not hand over the car to her without instructions from his uncle.

He said later, his uncle's wife went to the house of his driver and deceived him into giving the car keys to her.

She then attempted to take the car away but the driver did not allow this and he removed the battery from the car and subsequently called to inform him (Dadzie) about what was going on.

Mr Dadzie said he later received a call from a police officer who identified himself as Asante, asking him to report at the Cantonments Police Station.

He said on his way to the police station, he had a call from his driver who informed him that some police officers had gone to his (driver's) house to search the place for the car battery, so he quickly went to the house and demanded a search warrant from the officers before allowing them to carry out their search.

Afterwards, they all went to the police station. Mr Dadzie said at the police station, the officers forced him behind the “counterback” and when he asked whether he was being arrested and for what reason, one of the officers slapped him a couple of times and stepped on his feet with the intention to hurt him.

He alleged that the officer forcefully removed his spectacles and sandals and shoved him into the cells at the station and he spent about 45 minutes there, after which he was taken to the office of one Chief Inspector Donkor for interrogation.

Mr Dadzie said after the Chief Inspector had satisfied himself with answers to the questions and also after talking to his uncle on telephone, he asked that the car should be given to him (Dadzie) and he was released.

He said while he was in the cells, the inmates forcefully took away his money as a result of which he lost about ¢190,000.

When asked what his reaction would be if the outcome of his petition did not go down, with him, Mr Dadzie said, “I'm very confident that the CHRAJ would do a satisfactory job.”

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