Human Rights lawyer, Francis Xavier Sosu together with two others have, in a joint writ, dragged founder of the International Godsway Church to court for assaulting two members of his church.
The three are asking the court to take punitive measures against the man of God for his aggression in the church.
Bishop Daniel Obinim in a video which has gone viral on social media is seen using a belt to lash two young adults he claimed were his adopted children.
The two are accused of fornication and attempting to abort a pregnancy.
Bishop Obinim, since the video surfaced on social media has been sternly criticized by the general public, lawyers and religious leaders.
But the bishop finds nothing wrong with his conduct. In justifying his conduct, largely described as an assault, an aide to the bishop, said the man of God had every right, as a father to punish the children when they go wrong.
Joseph Osei Brenya said the young adults, who have been adopted by the bishop were expected to live a life worthy of emulation by other children but they failed.
Bishop Obinim has also lashed out at those calling for his head. In an interview on the AM Show on Multi TV, the bishop said anyone who is calling for his prosecution is unintelligent.
He said his conduct was not only biblical but acceptable within the laws of the country but some lawyers disagree.
The man of God will soon face the law, Myjoyonline.com can confirm.
In a writ copied to Myjoyonline.com, the two lawyers, Francis Xavier Sosu, Irene Aborchie and an ordinary citizen, Daniel Agbavor say the bishop's conduct is in "breach of Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution and other International Human Right statutes on the inviolability of citizen’s right to personal dignity.”
The complainants say this is not the first time the bishop has subjected members of his church to such cruel and dehumanizing treatment and that through the exercise of religious freedom, Obinim is violently violating the 1992 Constitution.
They prayed the court to intervene to protect the rights of members and followers of the bishop who are Ghanaians and who are also protected by the 1992 Constitution.
“…Not only are the rights of these members and followers going to be abused with impunity but also other religious groupings are bound to take a cue from this conduct and perpetrate atrocities against their members and followers in the name of religious rights to the detriment of their member and followers and the entire nation as a whole.”
Below is a copy of the full writ
AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION ON NOTICE FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE APPLICANT
I, DANIEL AGBAVOR of F-X Law & Associates, House No. 62, Forest Avenue, Opp GSL, Dzorwulu, Accra, in the Greater Accra Region of the Republic of Ghana make oath and say as follows;
1. That I am the 2nd Applicant herein and I have the authority and consent of the 1st and 3rd Applicants to depose to this affidavit on matters the facts of which are within my personal knowledge, information and belief.
2. That I am the Transport Officer of F-X Law & Associate and a citizen of Ghana by birth and nationality whilst the 1st Respondent is a law firm with interest and specialties in Human Rights and Public interest litigation and advocacy, with the 3rd Respondent being a private legal practitioner and Director of a Human Rights project called Legal Assistance Network.
3. That I am a keen follower of the Respondents’ ministry and have been watching their preaching and sermons through Television, social media and other media platforms and feel very disgraced and scandalized by the conduct of the Respondents in the violation of the 1992 Constitution as it relates to the protection of dignity of every member of the Respondent’s Church who is a Ghanaian whose rights are protected by the 1992 Constitution.
4. That on Wednesday, 17th August, 2016, there was a video that was circulating widely in social media showing the 2nd Respondent beating up two of his church members on the suspicion that the man had impregnated the woman. (That we shall seek leave through Counsel to play the said video in open court)
5. That the said video caused public outrage with several media house publishing same and calling for action against the said Respondents.
6. That being Ghanaians who believe and are advised by Counsel that the conduct of the Respondents violate Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution, and in fear of future violations of the fundamental rights of members and followers enshrined in the 1992 Constitution by the Respondents, we have taken this step in accordance with Article 2, Article 33 and Article 33(5) of the 1992 Constitution to obtain a declaration and perpetual injunction to that effect and for further order or orders as the court may deem fit.
7. That this has not been the first time that the Respondents have subjected members to such dehumanizing and cruel treatment and if care is not taken the exercise of religious freedom would violently violate the 1992 Constitution.
8. That I am advised by Counsel and I verily believe same to be true that the continuous conduct of physical abuse of members of the 1st Respondent Church by the 2nd Respondent is in violent breach of Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution and other International Human Right statutes on the inviolability of citizen’s right to personal dignity.
9. That I am advised by Counsel and I verily believe same to be true that our right to challenge an arbitrary use of religious power of the 2nd Respondent, arises out of the application of Article 2 of the 1992 Constitution and several decided cases which had held that individuals may bring action for enforcement of constitutional breaches and though not expressly mentioned in the 1992 Constitution, is considered to be inherent in a democracy intended to secure the freedom and dignity of man as articulated by Article 33(5)
10. That I am again advised by Counsel and I verily believe same to be true that the said treatment meted out to members and followers of the 1st Respondent Church by the 2nd Respondent breach the fundamental right to dignity and freedom from all arbitrary abuses of the members and followers contrary to the 1992 Constitution, The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
11. That if this court does not intervene to protect the rights of members and followers of the 1st Respondent Church who are Ghanaians protected by the 1992 Constitution, not only are the rights of these members and followers going to be abused with impunity but also other religious groupings are bound to take a cue from this conduct and perpetrate atrocities against their members and followers in the name of religious rights to the detriment of their member and followers and the entire nation as a whole.
12. That we are advised by Counsel and we verily believe same to be true that the enormous breaches of the fundamental rights under the 1992 Constitution and the International Human Rights Instruments referred to above entitles us to bring this human right action for the reliefs endorsed on the application below.
WHEREFORE, I swear to this affidavit in support of the facts stated above and claim the following reliefs against the 1st and 2nd Respondents jointly and severally:
1. A Declaration that the said beatings before the congregation amounts to violation of the dignity of the victims in violation of Article 15 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.
2. A Declaration that the said beatings before the congregation amounts to a dehumanizing and degrading treatment of them in violation of Article 15 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
3. A declaration that the said punishment by 1st and 2nd Respondents violates Ghana’s obligation under Articles 55 of the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens of Ghana.
4. A declaration that the said punishment amounts to infringement of the said obligation and also an infringement of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both of which provides that no one shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment.
5. A Declaration that the conduct of Respondents violate Ghana’s obligation under the Convention against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
6. An Order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their agents, assigns, privies and workmen and any other person working under their authority or purporting to work in their names, from any further conduct such as beating, caning, stepping, spiting, insulting, inducements of fear and threat of death, invoking curses and any conduct whatsoever described which violates the dignity of their members and followers and constitute degrading, cruel and dehumanising treatment to their members and followers.
7. Cost and legal fees.
Sworn at Accra this
Day of August, 2016
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