A human rights report by the United States has revealed that law enforcers in Ghana mostly disregards constitutional provisions against arbitrary arrests and detentions.

The report which raised concerns on matters of critical human rights issues indicated that more often than not individuals are arrested or detained without a legitimate evidence.

It further stated that, suspects are put behind bars without taking them through due process. Referring to the constitution, the report said the accused is “presumed innocent and have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of charges against them, with free assistance of an interpreter as necessary.

“The law requires detainees be brought before a court within 48 hours of arrest in the absence of a judicial warrant, but authorities frequently detained individuals without charge or a valid arrest warrant for periods longer than 48 hours. Officials detained some prisoners for indefinite periods by renewing warrants or simply allowing them to lapse while an investigation took place.

“The constitution grants a detained individual the right to be informed immediately, in a language the person understands, of the reasons for detention and of his or her right to a lawyer. Most detainees, however, could not afford a lawyer. While the constitution grants the right to legal aid, the government often does not provide it,” the report emphasised.

Again, the report accused the Ghana Police Service of engaging in act of impunity which it says can be attributed to poor training, corruption, lack of oversight among other factors.

“Impunity remained a significant problem in the Ghana Police Service. Corruption, brutality, poor training, lack of oversight, and an overburdened judicial system contributed to impunity.”

Excerpts of the report also observed that, Police often fail to respond to reports of abuses and, in many instances, did not act unless “complainants paid for police transportation and other operating expenses.

The US human rights group believes the shortfalls highlighted in the 2019 report must be a wake-up call for government to improve and reform its judicial services in the country.