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10 Convicted for demonstrating

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
10 Convicted for demonstrating

Ten persons who embarked on a demonstration at Nima in Accra on May 5 this year have been fined GH¢28,000 each by the Accra Circuit Court for violating the ban on public gathering as stipulated in Executive Instrument (E.I.) 64.

In default, Yahaya Alhassan, Bassarou Moaro, Alhassan Arafat, Abdul Gafa and Anim Emmanuel, Mohammed Nazif, Issaka Mutakiru, Zakari Salisu, Abdulai Yahaya and Mohammed Amin will each serve four years in prison.

They were part of a group, numbering about 50, who embarked on the demonstration.

The convicts pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to commit crime, failure to notify the police of desire to hold special event and failure to comply with restrictions imposed on public gathering in contravention of E.I. 64 and the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012).

They were convicted on their own plea by the court, presided over by Mrs Susana Eduful.

Facts

Presenting the facts of the case, the Prosecutor, Inspector Samuel Ahiabor, said the Accra Regional Police Command received information on May, 4, 2020 that some people were planning to demonstrate on May 5, 2020 near the private residence of President Akufo-Addo at Nima.

Inspector Ahiabor said on May 5, 2020, at about 10:30 a.m., a group of people numbering about 50 converged on Frankies Hotel, Nima, with placards, some of which had the inscription “Osafo Marfo doesn’t respect”, “Why our northern sister”, “Betrayal of the people”, “Deny Hajia Tina”, “Deny the entire Zongo,” among others.

The prosecution — which backed its case with photographs of the placards — said while the demonstration was in progress by the “recalcitrant” young men, the police swooped on them and arrested 10 of them, including their leader, Yahaya Alhassan, while the others fled.

Restriction Act

The ban on social gathering was issued by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Per Section 6 of Act 1012, “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty unit (GH¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (GH¢60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both”.