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Ghana's president pardons close to 900 prisoners

Ghana's president pardons close to 900 prisoners

Ghana

Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, granted amnesty to over 800 prisoners on the occasion of the country’s 56th Republic Day anniversary.

A statement released by the presidency said, ‘‘President John Dramani Mahama has, in commemoration of the 56th Republican Anniversary of the Republic of Ghana, granted amnesty to over eight hundred and ninety-six (896) prisoners.’‘

Majority of those released were first time offenders, followed by aged inmates. The president a year ago, released 900 prisoners from the country’s detention facilities under the same arrangement.

The breakdown of freed inmates were as follows:

  • First time offenders – 813
  • Aged of 70-years and above – 63
  • Seriously ill – 16
  • Special case (double amputee) – 1
  • Death row commuted to life sentence – 3

Head of the Prisons Service council, Pastor Stephen Wengam said the move brings a sigh of relief to the prison service, in their quest to decongest the facilities “900 is a big number and it will go a long way in helping us to categorize and classify the rest of the prisoners per the UN standard.”

Ghana’s prisons are notorious for their overcrowding and the squalid conditions under which inmates are housed. A human rights reports has given a scathing account of the conditions in Ghana’s prisons calling for urgent reforms aimed at making conditions more humane.