A Ho Circuit Court has denied a bail application for some 21 persons arraigned on the charge of unlawful assembly.
The 21 persons were arrested after journalists in Ho teamed up with the police to arrest them at a community empowerment meeting on May 20, where attendees were being trained to tackle human rights violations being experienced by LGBT+ Ghanaians.
According to the Volta Regional Police PRO, Sergeant Prince Dogbatse, the suspects had in their possession materials on concepts encouraging homosexuals to boldly announce their sexuality among other related books.
He said, “We also got the LGBT+ Muslim book that is among some of the materials that they are using, they also have gender acronyms coming out.
“A concept that is coming out at encouraging persons involved in this behaviour to come out publicly to mention or state the sexuality and all about trans, I mean transgender.”
“I mean there is an agenda by these people to propagate the LGBTQ behaviour. For now, we have referred the preliminary charge of unlawful assembly and while we continue our investigation,” he added.
The 21 LGBT rights activists consisting of 16 females and 5 males were then remanded into police custody after the Police had argued before Justice Felix Datsomor that owing to the activists not being residents in Ho it would be difficult for them to carry out their investigations.
🚨 21 Queer Activists Denied Bail for the 4th Time, Now Remanded into Prison After 19 Days in Police Cells— Rightify Ghana (@RightifyGhana) June 8, 2021
The Circuit Court judge says since a High Court remanded them, he can’t grant the bail, even though the prosecutors did not object to it.#ReleaseThe21 pic.twitter.com/FbfwXVBkBp
However, after 5 court appearances and 4 bail denials over a 19 day period, the activists are being sent to prison.
Some of the inmates were sick and were hospitalized few days ago, A family has disowned one of them, telling her never to return home again.— Rightify Ghana (@RightifyGhana) June 8, 2021
However, the Ghanaian media remains silent on the issue after journalists teamed up with the police to arrest the 21.#ReleaseThe21 pic.twitter.com/9PQxzSsRru
In the latest bail denial, the Circuit Court Judge presiding over the case is reported to have said that due to their bail plea being denied by the Ho High Court, he is unable to overturn the High Court’s ruling.
Rightify Ghana, a human rights organization, which has been following this case posted on Twitter that “some of the inmates were sick and were hospitalized a few days ago. A family has disowned one of them, telling her never to return home again.”
The Police are yet to present any evidence to the courts to back their charges.
Meanwhile, a section of social media users have declared their support for the arrested 21 demanding that they be released immediately using the hashtag #ReleaseThe21.
Below are some tweets;
A Koforidua Court today granted bail to 32 people who posed as National Security operatives while illegally mining in Atewa Forest.— . (@ybsnroh) June 8, 2021
A Ho Court continues to reject an appeal for bail for 21 people arrested for having in their possession, pro-LGBTQ literature.#ReleaseThe21
The injustice happening to the Ho 21 is such a scary precedent that the High Court is backing, man.— bonsu (@FatherSiisi) June 8, 2021
If the police can just arrest you on flimsy excuses and have you detained while they “gather evidence” against you then we’re in real trouble.
They want a protest so they can shoot us https://t.co/Rrj0EcVv83— Atiwa For Rest 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🇵🇸 (@wanlov) June 8, 2021
Denied Bail once— Melons_rVeggies™ #release_the_21 (@Melons_rVeggies) June 8, 2021
Denied Bail again
Denied Bail again (to gather more evidence)
Denied Bail again (because bail has been denied 3 times already)
WHAAAT? How does this even make sense? Christ. I’m angry 😡
someone broke the news on here and a hashtag started and now our minds are working overtime on their behalf but i’m just wondering how much of this happens without us knowing.— Micycle…but as an Ashawo Misandrist (@always_Joan) June 8, 2021
even if we somehow make this case okay, which other queer people have been locked up just like this?
Hate and ignorance cultivated by religion is the cause of all this pain & hurt Ghana is subjecting these activists to.— GRATEFUL (@ATEAMworldwide) June 8, 2021
We are not free until all of us are free. #ReleaseThe21
The day all humans will finally understand and accept that every human has a right and are free to love whoever they love, this world will know peace. It’s sheer inhumanness to jail people for fighting for their human rights. Hate is the devil. #ReleaseThe21— GRATEFUL (@ATEAMworldwide) June 8, 2021
Ghana’ judiciary system is sending the 21 people to prison for doing nothing wrong but educating and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. @NAkufoAddo do you care about human rights or it’s just vibes for the international community?!! #ReleaseThe21— Sekyibea (@owuraku_jnr) June 8, 2021
For the 4th time, the circuit court in Ghana’s south has denied bail to the 21 LGBTQI activists who were detained a few weeks ago. This is unconstitutional and just so wrong. Another case of the denial of one’s basic human right to assemble and live. #justice #queer pic.twitter.com/VAFjTrGo2K— Ignatius Annor (@IgnatiusAnnor) June 8, 2021
Meanwhile, the United Nations has joined calls for the release of the 21 activists.
It stated, “We are deeply concerned by the arrests of the human rights defenders. All evidence available to us points to the fact that they were detained while they were peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”
#Ghana 🇬🇭: UN human rights experts condemn arbitrary arrest of #LGBT human rights defenders, urge their release. “All evidence available points to the fact that they were detained while peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly & association.” pic.twitter.com/oCa08FLdja— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) June 4, 2021
Several UN experts, including myself, condemn the arbitrary arrest of 21 people defending #LGBT rights in #Ghana. 🇬🇭— IE SOGI, Victor Madrigal-Borloz (@victor_madrigal) June 4, 2021
Detention on discriminatory grounds is arbitrary by nature & violates int’l human rights law. Ghana must #ReleaseThe21 immediately.
Read: https://t.co/zxtZvJtuRx https://t.co/D5sUfwwEam
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Today’s front pages: Thursday, June 24, 2021
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