A film entitled “Injustice Cell 17”,a historic documentary highlighting the injustices perpetuated by the regime of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah under the Preventive Detention Act (PDA), has been launched in London.
The 90-minute film which was directed by Kofi Owusu of Graceland Film Company, Ghana, was written and produced by Mr. Julius Boye-Doe.
“Injustice Cell 17” vividly depicts the true story of the atrocities suffered by the producer who was arrested at tender age of 15 and incarcerated under the PDA for 6 years for no apparent reason.
Enacted by Parliament in 1958 in the First Republic of Ghana, the PDA was invoked to imprison over 2,500 people including political icons like Dr. J.B. Danquah, Mr. William Ofori-Atta, Mr. Joe Appiah, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey as well as other leading politicians and individuals in the early post independence era in Ghana.
Launching the film, Mr. Isaac Osei, Ghana's High Commissioner to the UK observed that Dr. Nkrumah was great leader and a nationalist who projected the African personality worldwide but the PDA introduced during his administration was “obnoxious both in structure and in its implementation”
High Commissioner Osei stressed that “no individual, political party or government can claim to be the repository of the collective wisdom of society and so people with different political views must be tolerated and respected”
“As Ghanaians we must collectively resolve that never again will any individual be incarcerated because he holds different political views from the authorities of the day and that no law should ever be passed by any Parliament in Ghana empowering authorities to imprison others without going through due process” added Ghana's envoy to the UK.
Mr. Osei said the film also brought to the fore the need to improve conditions in the country's prisons and review the way inmates in prisons in Ghana were treated.
“Our prisons should be places of reform and reflection and not punishment camps” said the High Commissioner.
On his part, Mr Boye-Doe said he was motivated to produce the film because of a promise he made to his fellow inmates during his detention “ to tell the story of the suffering they endured to the entire world”.
Mr. Boye-Doe dedicated the film to Dr. J.B. Danquah and all victims of the PDA and expressed the hope that the lessons highlighted by “Injustice Cell 17” would help in creating a better society for future generations in Ghana.
Previewing the film, Mr. Henry Thompson, an accomplished and celebrated Ghanaian journalist and a victim of the PDA, described the legislation as “the strangest law ever passed by the Parliament in Ghana considering that the country had just attained independence.”
“For my family and l, independence did not bring freedom and justice, but it brought untold hardship and misery” lamented the veteran journalist who was incarcerated for seven and a half years.
The first two DVD copies of the film which were auctioned for £200 and £100 were bought by Rev. Dr Lawrence Tetteh, founder of the Miracle Outreach Church, London and Mr. Adolphus Arthur, Deputy High Commissioner at the Ghana High Commission respectively.
ISSUED BY GHANA HIGH COMMISSION, LONDON 16 DECEMBER 2005