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Don’t torture suspects – CHRAJ advises police

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has asked officers of the Ghana Police Service and other national security agencies not to torture  suspects.

Dr Isaac Annan, Director, Human Rights, CHRAJ, giving the advice, said security officials must be mindful and be guided by the Rwandan Guidelines on Human Rights in arresting, detaining and arraigning suspects before the court.

Dr Annan gave the advice on the sidelines of a day’s sensitization programme for 105 police personnel in the Tema Police Region on Human Rights Intervention for Key Populations, People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Tuberculosis (TB) Patients.

He said Ghana was a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment, therefore officers must endeavour not to contravene it.

Article one of the Convention states in part, “Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him..”

He noted that torture in this context was the exercise of coercive power of state by the police or any security officer indicating that any act from the officers that took away the dignity of the suspects constituted torture.

According to him, “As a public officer, you have the power to do your work but in doing so, you must make sure that you don’t infringe on the rights of persons,” adding that “If you slap the person, use unreasonable force and put the person in a situation, maybe in a corner and do not have access to basic things, no access to food, medication or his lawyers, that is torture”.

Dr Annan urged any person who had been tortured in any form to seek redress at the courts or lodge a report at CHRAJ as it was against the laws of Ghana.

He also encouraged public officers especially police officers to report to his outfit when discriminated against or some administrative injustice are meted against them by their superiors or civilians.

There has a number of alleged torture cases against the police, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and other state officers with the recent one being the accusation of torture of modernghana.com journalists by the BNI.

Source: GNA

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