Member of parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu, has petitioned President Akufo-Addo to commute all persons on death sentence to life imprisonment.
According to him, the appeal follows initiation, passage and assent of Private Members Bills to amend the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29 and Armed Forces Act 1962 (Act 105) to substitute life imprisonment for the death penalty.
He revealed that it will be “phenomenal” if under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, Ghana appears to be seen as consistent with recent changes in laws and related vote at the United Nations in favor of the 9th Resolution for a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
“I write for and on behalf of all 181 persons currently on death row in respect of the above subject. I wish to respectfully appeal to your High Office to exercise your prerogative of mercy to commute all persons currently on death sentence to life imprisonment pursuant to the authority granted you under Article 72(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
“Your Excellency, Article 72 (1) (c) of the Constitution of Ghana, 1992 provides as follows: ‘The President may, acting in consultation with the Council of State-(c) Substitute a less severe form of punishment for a punishment imposed on a person for an offence’.”Francis Xavier Sosu
Contained in a letter date October 11, 2023, Mr Sosu indicated that the petition when granted, will go a long way to entrench the President’s legacy for the consequential role played and commitment demonstrated towards the advancement and realization of a more “free, open progressive, inclusive and secured” society.
Furthermore, the Madina legislator urged the President to consider the ratification of the second optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which is aimed at the abolition of the death penalty.
He explained that the protocol offers an alternative way and approach to address the challenges associated with constitutional amendment of entrenched provision which requires a referendum as stated in Article 3 of the 1992 constitution.
“Your Excellency, this action will go a long way to reinforce particularly to the international community, Ghana’s democratic tenets and credentials, especially during Universal Peer Review (UPR) sessions and our unwavering commitment and zeal towards preservation of the rule of law and respect for individual rights and liberties.”Francis Xavier Sosu
Calls for removal of death penalty
Moreover, Mr Sosu recounted that the World Coalition Against Death Penalty, CSOs and the international community on October 10, 2023, marked 21st World Day Against the Death Penalty.
Reflecting on the milestone achieved by Ghana this year by way of the abolition of the death penalty from the Criminal Offences Act and the Armed Forces Act, Mr Sosu emphasized the need for President Akufo-Addo to “grant this request to commute the sentences of death to life sentences for all persons on death row”.
“I wish to express my gratitude to you for the support and commitment thus far, and count on your continued co-operation in the spirit of bipartisan collaboration for the benefit of the Ghanaian people.”Francis Xavier Sosu
Amnesty International observing the World Day Against the Death Penalty called on the Ghanaian authorities to take steps to remove the death penalty from the Constitution.
It expressed opposition to the death penalty in all cases without exception because it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The group stated that the death penalty is the “ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment” which has no place in the world.