The last three years have been a living nightmare for 24-year-old Kwaku William-Egyiri who has been locked up in a cell in the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons with more than 40 other prisoners.
They have to sleep in shifts, with their legs crossing each other. All because he stole a mobile phone in 2007, and his case having been postponed 18 times due to “the right documents are missing”.
But for the first time since what seems like forever for the imprisoned William-Egyiri, when he went to the courtroom on September 3, the judge refused to sign the documents that could have been his first step towards freedom.
When The Mirror met William-Egyiri outside the Supreme Court building in Accra; he put his own situation this way: “Only God knows why I have been on remand for three years. Because I really don’t.”
He holds his head up high, and so do the prison officers guarding him.
The William-Egyiri case report says that he was beaten up by the police when he was arrested, and that some of his ribs got-broken. But he has neither been taken to a hospital nor given medical treatment even though he has been complaining about heavy pain for a long time.
While at the Supreme Court William-Egyiri wrote the following and handed it to The Mirror reporter: “There is another guy in my cell who has been in prison for 10 years, without having been tried, so please help him. His name is Michael Adogo.”
One thousand five hundred and fifty four of them were, according to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), still waiting for trial in 2009, some of them having been on remand for between three and 20 years.
According to investigations conducted by Amnesty International there is space for a total of 8,000 prisoners in Ghana, but the prisons are housing more than 14,000 in total. More than a third of them are still waiting for their cases to be reviewed by a court of law.
According to the case files William-Egyiri was involved in a robbery. It is alleged that he and some other guys threatened a hair dresser in her saloon, and ordered her to hand over her mobile phone.
Four days later William-Egyiri was arrested because one of the women in the saloon had recognised him.
Human rights lawyer Nana Oye Luther has taken the case up and she is now trying to get him out on bail because as she says, that’s all we can hope for in this system, sadly that’s the only realistic thing left.”
Source: The Mirror/Ghana