V/R Minister secures release of convicted pregnant teenager

Superintendent Dankwa thanking Dr Letsa after receiving the money

Superintendent Dankwa thanking Dr Letsa after receiving the money

In less than 24 hours after the Ghanaian Times carried the story of Rose Shabi, the convicted pregnant teenager, who appealed to the President for pardon, the Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, has gone to the aid of convict, by paying a fine imposed on a her by a magistrate court.

Dr Letsa presented GH¢1,500 to the Officer-in-Charge of the Ho Female Prison, Superintendent (Sup) Clarissa Catherine Dankwa, inside the penal centre in the morning yesterday.

The regional minister, who is a medical doctor, said that he was concerned about the condition in which the pregnant teenager found herself, and was also touched by her plea to the president for clemency.

Dr Letsa, who was accompanied by the Ho Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. John Nelson Akorli, said that convicts remained an integral part of the citizenry, and were entitled to their rights to human dignity, despite losing their rights to personal freedom.

Dr Letsa said that convicts could come out of prison reformed when given the appropriate care and training, and that made it imperative for all and sundry to seek and contribute to their welfare while they served their term.

He pledged to visit the prison more frequently to identify the needs of the inmates at firsthand.

Sup Dankwa thanked the minister for the gesture, and gave the assurance that the court fine would be paid immediately so that Shabi could go home and prepare for delivery.

Shabi, who was overwhelmed with joy and tears, expressed gratitude to Dr.Letsa for the “kindness” and wished him God’s blessings.

The 18-year-old teenager from Dzodze in the Ketu North District was convicted sometime in May this year by a magistrate court for pouring pepper into the face of her cousin during a quarrel.

A fine of GH¢1,500 or in default of fine six months imprisonment was imposed on her.

Shabi, who maintained that it was rather her cousin, who persistently hurled insults at her and caused her to lose her temper, could not pay the fine.

She had served two-and-a-half months of the term before the regional minister’s intervention.

Some members of the public, who were outraged by Shabi’s incarceration, maintained that her outburst towards her cousin during the quarrel could be the result of pregnancy-related complications,which were much more common in younger expecting mothers.

FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO

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