President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has joined calls to get the death penalty removed from the country’s statutory books.
President Akufo-Addo observed that criminal offenders slapped with the death penalty are rather given life sentences, adding that it’s logical if it’s removed completely from the law books.
“Nevertheless, I think that the principle is one that we should move towards in Ghana. In our case in Ghana, since we have made a conscious decision not to invoke the death penalty, then we should do the logical thing and remove it from our statute books. It’s a different matter if we were using it selectively; we are not using it at all,” he said.
“Everybody who is sentenced to death by the courts is automatically commuted to life imprisonment even though their treatment is still somewhat differentiated,”. The President said this when a delegation from Amnesty International (AI) paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House Friday, with an appeal to abolish the death penalty.
He indicated that persons involved in terrorism should be treated differently, adding that people are hesitant to support the abolition of the death penalty when their operations of wiping out villages and communities are being discussed.
“A lot of people have come to me who in principle support the abolition of the death penalty but whenever the issue of terrorism is raised and the mindless manner in which some of these terrorist groups operate to destroy human life, operations which do not involve killing of one person, but involves the annihilation of villages, of communities, people hesitate about supporting the abolition of the death penalty for such actors.”
The delegation led by the Board Chairman of Amnesty International, Francis Nyantakyi, said, “a private member bill has been introduced in Parliament by Francis Xavier Sosu, MP for Madina and ranking member of Parliament Select Committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. With your (Mr President) support, we hope that Ghana joins our neighbouring countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo and host of other African countries including Sierra Leone, and Liberia, that have abolished the death penalty.”
The Member of Parliament for Madina constituency, Francis Xavier Sosu was part of the Amnesty International delegation.
Amnesty International has been demanding the repeal of the death penalty.
The last executions in Ghana were carried out in 1993, the year of Ghana’s return to civilian rule. Twelve people convicted of armed robbery or murder were executed by firing squad.
Seven new death sentences were handed down in 2021, and 165 persons were on death row in Ghana at the end of 2021.