The Accra Regional Police Command says although its cells are conducive for living by detainees, they do not meet international standards.
According to Public Relations Officer, ASP Afia Tenge, the Command is doing its best to ensure that inmates in their cells are given the best treatment as far as their resources can provide.
A police cell is a temporary holding facility of a local law enforcement agency used to hold suspects waiting for interrogation, arrest processing, transfer to jail or for other administrative procedures.
But the conditions in most cells in the country are said to be inhumane, with some detainees suffocating to death due to overcrowding.
This contravenes Principle 1 of the United Nations Body of Principles for the protection of persons under detention which states among others: “All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.”
On Sunday 28-year-old Nigerian, Miracle Friday Elijah died at the Accra Central Police cells after suffering running tummy, and profuse vomiting.
The suspect had been arrested for suspected fraud. He was sent to court and granted bail but was being held in custody following his inability to meet the bail conditions.
His death has been attributed to poor living conditions in the cell.
Speaking on the Joy FM Super Morning Show, Thursday, ASP Tenge however said the suspect’s death is under investigation and therefore, cannot be linked to the condition of the cells.
“Our police cells are conducive for human habitation although they may not be up to standards of international expectation but for what we have we are trying as much as we can to manage the little that we have to be able to give our suspects the best [treatment] and for their proper safety,” ASP Tenge upheld.
She conceded that “sometimes we may have some challenges” but “when the cells are congested we send them (detained) to other cells”.
“As far as I am concerned now they [cells] are okay,” the PRO said.
According to her, the suspect died while being transported to the hospital for medical treatment and not in the cells as had been reported in the media.
The body has been deposited at the Police Hospital morgue for autopsy, she added.