Lawyers for Montie trio appeal to President for pardon

MP for North Dayi, George Loh (2)Lawyers for the host of Montie FM’s ‘Pampaso’ political show, Salifu Maase, also known as Mugabe, and two panellists, Alistair Nelson, and Godwin Ako Gunn, who were handed a four-month prison sentence say they will petition President John Dramani Mahama to invoke his prerogative power of mercy for the three, whose sentencing they consider harsh.

The three were sentenced on Wednesday by the Supreme Court, after they were found guilty of contempt charges brought against them.

That was after they had threatened on radio to kill the judges over their handling of the suit on the credibility of the voters’ register.

The lawyers for the three, George Loh and Nana Ato Dadzie in a statement, said although they admit comments made by their clients were “unacceptable”, they considered the sentence harsh and excessive.

“We do admit some of the statements uttered by some of our clients are unacceptable. We nevertheless consider custodial sentence of four months imposed by the Supreme Court as being excessive and harsh,” they said.

“We also do not believe that citizens of Ghana ought to be committed to prison for infractions on free expression especially in light of the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law,” they added.

The statement said “Our clients have directed us in circumstances to petition His Excellency, the President of the Republic to exercise his powers of prerogative of mercy under Article 72 of the Constitution of Ghana.”

The sentence has been met with mixed reactions from various stakeholders.

While some believed it was a step in the right direction, others said the Judges were too harsh on the trio and might be seeking to stifle freedom of speech.

Meanwhile Claude Nyarko Adams reports that scores of National Democratic Congress (NDC) sympathisers yesterday besieged the headquarters of the party to demand the immediate release of the Montie FM host and two other panellists, who were yesterday sentenced to four months in prison by the Supreme Court.

The trio, Messrs Salifu Maase alias Mugabe (host), Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn panellists were again ordered to pay GH¢10,000 each or in default serve additional one month prison sentence in hard labour.

Clad in their normal outfits and some in party shirts, the group expressed anger at the decision of the apex court to sentence the “Pampaso radio show host” and his two other panellists who allegedly made threatening statements against the Judges.

In a clear show of disapproval, the sympathisers threatened to vote President Mahama out of office if their demands were not met.

“If you don’t work to bring them out of the prison, we will vote you out of office”, one protester shouted.

Others expressed anger at the slow posture of the party officials in acting to save the convicts from serving jail term and called for the head of officials if they could not protect party members.

Addressing the gathered crowd to calm tempers, Chairman of the party, Mr. Kofi Portuphy said the leaders of the party share in the concerns of the members and was working assiduously to ensure the trio were released as soon as possible.

He assured the protesters of the party’s resolve to protect all of its members especially during this electioneering period.

According to Mr. Portuphy the attempt by the party hierarchy to secure their release would only be possible if the supporters exercise restraint in their actions and remarks and urged them to remain calm.

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