Home » Ghanaian Court Sentences Six to Death for Coup Plot

Ghanaian Court Sentences Six to Death for Coup Plot

Human rights activists urge Ghana to end capital punishment after first treason trial in decades.

by Motoni Olodun

Six people, including three soldiers, have been sentenced to death by hanging in Ghana for their involvement in a failed coup attempt in 2019. The verdict has sparked renewed calls from human rights activists to abolish the death penalty in the West African nation.

The six were convicted of high treason and conspiracy to commit high treason by a high court in Accra on Wednesday, after a trial that lasted nearly two years. They were arrested in 2021 while testing weapons and explosives that they allegedly planned to use to overthrow the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Three others, including a senior police officer and two military officers, were acquitted of the same charges. The defense lawyers said they would appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.

The case was the first treason trial in Ghana since 1966, when the country’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was overthrown in a military coup. Ghana has since enjoyed relative stability and democracy, and is widely seen as a model of good governance and development in Africa.

However, the country still retains the death penalty for acts of high treason, as provided in its 1992 constitution. Ghana has not carried out any execution since the early 1990s, and last year, its parliament voted to abolish the death penalty for ordinary crimes, replacing it with life imprisonment.

But human rights groups say this is not enough, and have urged Ghana to join the growing global movement to end capital punishment for all offenses. According to Amnesty International, 142 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice as of 2020.

“Amnesty International is completely against the death sentence. In Ghana, we have been fighting to end the death penalty over the past 30 years,” said Genevieve Partington, the country director of Amnesty International Ghana, in an interview with The Associated Press.

She said the death penalty is a cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment that violates the right to life and does not deter crime. She also said the death penalty is often applied in a discriminatory manner, and that there is always a risk of executing innocent people.

“We are calling on the government of Ghana to commute the sentences of the six people who have been sentenced to death, and to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition,” she said.

The government has not commented on the verdict or the calls to abolish the death penalty. Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, who led the prosecution, said the conviction “sends a strong signal to the nation that to destabilize or organize to overthrow the constitution will not be countenanced and will be taken quite seriously.”

The verdict comes amid a wave of coups and attempted coups in Africa, most recently in Guinea, where the military ousted President Alpha Conde on September 5. Other countries that have experienced coups or coup attempts in recent years include Mali, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Burkina Faso.

Analysts say the resurgence of coups in Africa reflects the frustration of many people with poor governance, corruption, inequality, and lack of democracy. They also warn that coups can trigger violence, instability, and human rights violations, and undermine the prospects of development and peace.

Despite the challenges, some experts say there is still hope for democracy and the rule of law in Africa, as evidenced by the peaceful transitions of power and the popular resistance to coups in some countries.

“Ghana remains one of the shining examples of democracy in Africa, and we hope that this verdict will not tarnish its reputation or deter its people from pursuing their aspirations for a better future,” said Kwesi Aning, a security analyst and professor at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra.

Source: Newsday

You may also like

Leave a Comment

white logo with motto small

The Ghana Sentinel is an embodiment of Ghana’s spirit, providing unerring insight into our politics, society, and business.

Editors' Picks

Latest Stories

© 2024 The Ghana Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com