Montie Saga Mahama receives another petition

The group, Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) presented the second petition, with over 180,000 signatories, to the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Thursday.

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The group, Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) presented the second petition, with over 180,000 signatories, to the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Thursday. play

The group, Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) presented the second petition, with over 180,000 signatories, to the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Thursday.

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President John Mahama has received a second petition asking him to grant a presidential pardon to the three Montie FM contemnors.

The group, Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) presented the second petition, with over 180,000 signatories, to the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Thursday.

Lawyers for the three contemnors had already presented theirs to the presidency.

READ ALSO: Montie Saga Supreme Court erred; Mahama must invoke his powers - Woyomebullet

The jailed Montie three, Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase alias ‘Mugabe’ were sentenced to four months in prison by the Supreme Court following contempt proceedings against them.

The contempt proceedings came after the three threatened the Supreme Court judges who sat on the Abu Ramadan and Gary Nimako versus the Electoral Commission case.

play Second petition book

 

A petition book was subsequently opened by pro-government group Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) to collect signatures of Ghanaians to implore the president to free the three contemnors.

In the petition, the group said: “The four-month custodial sentence has attracted widespread criticisms for its severity and excessiveness from well-meaning Ghanaians. As an advocacy group, we condemn the utterances of the convicts. We, however, join our numerous compatriots to make an appeal to your good offices to invoke Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to pardon the three convicts or remit their sentences.

“As indicated above, it is the considered opinion of the signatories that the four months custodial sentence imposed on the three is excessive and has the potential to severely curtail rights to free speech, which is a fundamental right enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.”

Below is the petition by RAP

PETITION FOR PARDON/ REMISSION OF SENTENCE & FOR REVIEW OF GHANA’S CONTEMPT LAW 
We, from the Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP), currently supported by in excess of One Hundred and Eighty Thousand (180,000) signatories, wish to petition your high office to invoke your Prerogative of Mercy under article 72 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to pardon or remit the sentences of three citizens of this country who were jailed for contempt on July 27, 2016, namely Salifu Masse (a.k.a Mugabe), Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn.

The four-month custodial sentence has attracted widespread criticisms for its severity and excessiveness from well-meaning Ghanaians. As an advocacy group, we condemn the utterances of the convicts. We, however, join our numerous compatriots to make an appeal to your good offices to invoke Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to pardon the three convicts or remit their sentences.

As indicated above, it is the considered opinion of the signatories that the four months custodial sentence imposed on the three is excessive and has the potential to severely curtail rights to free speech, which is a fundamental right enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.

Your Excellency, in addition to the above plea on behalf of the three gentlemen, we wish to state that the lack of a Contempt Act in Ghana that clearly states what constitutes contempt and its defined maximum and minimum penalties may have accounted for the harshness of their sentence. The absence of such a codified contempt law, in our view, gives rise to the discretionary application of what constitutes contemptuous offense and its attendant sanctions in our dear Republic.

In a democracy, people should have the right to criticize judges. In our opinion, the power of contempt should be used to uphold the majesty and dignity of the court, only to the extent of enabling it to function effectively. The contempt law in its current form contradicts the above principles. This contradiction is further aggravated by the controversial incarceration of the ‘Montie 3’. The autocratic outlook of Ghana’s contempt laws is traceable to its linkages with the British Colonial Administration, which was itself autocratic. The need for this review is further supported by the views of Fali Nariman, a distinguished constitutional jurist, who opined that the offense of scandalizing the courts remains in a mercurial jurisdiction in which there are no rules and no constraints.

Your Excellency, we wish to respectively use this opportunity to request your high office to authorize the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to, as matter of urgency, enact such an Act or initiate the processes to review our current laws in order to safeguard the Judiciary from abuse, whilst at the same time, protecting the citizens’ rights to free speech as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution. Indeed, it is again our considered view that, it would be in the interest of this country to take such an action, since it would serve to guarantee and preserve the rights of citizens to freely express their opinions on the actions of public officials and state institutions without fear of being jailed for expressing their minds.

As indicated earlier, this would aid in the maintenance of confidence in the administration of justice in this country. Your Excellency, we join the contemnors in pleading for leniency and wish to count on you to deploy your high sense of compassion to offer some reprieve to the three convicts. Yours in the Service of the Nation

Signed: RAZAK ABU, CONVENOR, RAP

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