The two British teenage girls who were sentenced last year to 12 months imprisonment for possessing narcotic drugs have been denied reprieve.

By convention, anybody who is sentenced to 12 months’ jail term in Ghana receives three months reprieve thereby serving only nine months.

By this arrangement Vantansever Yasemin and Yetunde Diya, both 16, were supposed to have been released on April 18, this year.

But prison officers say the girls will not be released until they have served the full jail term of 12 months.

This has not gone down well with a London-based Human Rights group, Fair Trials International (FTI).

The head of the legal team of the FTI, Sabine Zanker told Joy News that the families of the girls were devastated with the decision.

She told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on the line to London that the girls were expected to get reprieve from the Ghana prison authorities.

“When the girls were sentenced to one year imprisonment everybody expected that they will be released after nine months because in Ghana quite routinely anybody who has been sentenced to a year imprisonment will be given a three month remission for good behaviour”, she said.

According to her the development was a huge blow to the families of the girls because they highly anticipated their return and were indeed planning for the event.

She said the families were however taking the issue mature “attitude with much dignity”.

Ms. Zankai admitted that according to the girls’ lawyer and the British authorities in Ghana, the girls were being treated well in the juvenile prisons in the country.

She noted that the legal right of the prison authorities to exercise their discretion and decide whether to release Vatenserva and Diya or not was well respected.

The two girls were arrested on July 2, last year for possessing six kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in their laptop bags at Kotoka International Airport.

They were found guilty of conspiracy and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority on November 21 by a juvenile court in Accra.

Their jail terms took effect from the date of arrest.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu