Court orders soldier’s release

A Human Rights High Court has ordered the High Military Command to immediately release a soldier it has detained for 30 days for allegedly vacating his post for 10 years.

The court said the Command had no right to detain the soldier for that number of days, irrespective of any law or Act.

It was the considered opinion of the court that Corporal Dominic Ohene Afram’s detention was not only unlawful, but a violation of his fundamental human rights.

Cpl. Afram is said to have left duty unceremoniously to seek greener pastures abroad.

He was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport upon arrival on May 12, 2015.

Cpl. Afram was detained in the military cells for 30 days pending pre-trial confinement, in accordance with the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105) and its Regulations.

The Ghana Armed Forced (GAF) is said to have detained the officer in 2006 for an attempted desertion, but he escaped in the course of his trial.

An application for bail by his wife was turned down by GAF for the reason that he might jump bail again.

An affidavit in opposition of harbeas corpus by the wife of the accused said: “That the request was refused because bail qua bail is alien to military law and there are no facilities for its grant. The equivalent for bail in military law, if at all, is open custody, but considering that the accused escaped from earlier custody and the severity of the alleged offence of desertion, open custody was, therefore, not advisable”.

A harbeas corpus application against the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Commanding Officer-in-charge of Ghana Police and the Commanding Officer 48 Engineers Regiment said: “The Ghana Armed Forces has failed to arraign the accused before any court of competent jurisdiction for a formal press of charges against Cpl. Afram, let alone, taking his plea and consideration of an application for bail”.

It said the arresting officers had failed to produce the accused before court, and neither had they given or established any reason for their failure to do so.

The applicant averred that the Criminal Procedure and other Offences Act (Act 30) creates a list of non-bailable   offences of which the suspected offence of desertion for which the accused was held for, was not one.

It further said Article 12 of the 1992 Constitution clearly guarantees the right of freedom for every Ghanaian which the accused was entitled to.

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