Last Updated: Wednesday, 09 July 2014, 13:04 GMT

Ghana: Information on the arrest of a newspaper editor and two members of the opposition

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 June 1992
Citation / Document Symbol GHA10986
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ghana: Information on the arrest of a newspaper editor and two members of the opposition, 1 June 1992, GHA10986, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad834c.html [accessed 10 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

George Naykene, editor of an Accra weekly newspaper, the Christian Chronicle was arrested and detained in November 1992 for "intentional libel," allegedly for publishing an article in which he claimed that all members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) had benefitted from a loan illicitly obtained by the People's National Party (PNP) from an Italian businessman (West Africa 23-29 Mar. 1992). The arrest and detention of Naykene prompted the Ghanaian Journalists' Association to issue a resolution branding his arrest as "an arbitrary use of state power and an attempt to stifle freedom of expression." (BBC Summary 29 Nov. 1991, p. 46). The resolution also demanded the "immediate release" not only of Naykene, but also of all other political prisoners (Ibid.).

According to an article published in West Africa (16-22 Mar. 1992). Naykene was arrested together with two other people: Nana Bekoe reportedly former Chairman of the PNP, and Kwesi Armah, a lawyer (Ibid.). However, Nana Bekoe appeared as witness for the prosecution at the first trial of Naykene to the surprise of the defence lawyers who accused Nana Bekoe of plea-bargaining with authorities for his release whereas Kwesi Armah remained in custody in spite of his ill health (Ibid.). Naykene and Kwesi Armah were detained for more than three months before they were brought to trial. The arrest aroused the concern of Amnesty International which appealed to

all concerned groups to take urgent action to bring pressure to bear on the government of Ghana over the detention [since] instrument under which the men were detained, Preventions Custody Law of the PNDC 1984/91...does not allow the right to challenge detention (West Africa 2-8 Mar. 1992).

The High Court rejected a bail application in respect of Naykene (BBC Summary 1 Apr. 1992) but his trial began in March. Reportedly, the trial attracted large crowds and the courtroom was filled beyond its normal capacity (West Africa 23-29 Mar. 1992). The crowd allegedly jeered when a witness for the defence, under cross-examination, Lt. Col. Gbedemah and a major during the AFRC regime, threatened to "blow off" the defence lawyer's head (Ibid.). Judgement in Naykene's case is pending (West Africa 18-24 May 1992). Further information about Kwesi Armah is currently unavailable to the IRBDC in Ottawa. For additional information on Mr. Naykene's case please refer to the attached documents.

References

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. 1 April 1992. "High Court Dismisses Editor's Bail Application." (NEXIS)

BBC World Service [London, in English]. 25 November 1991. "Journalists' Association Condemns Editors' Arrest." (FBIS-AFR-91-230 29 November 1991, p. 46).

West Africa [London]. 18-24 May 1992. "Naykene Case."

. 23-29 March 1992. "Ghana: Revelations at Naykene's Trial."

. 16-22 March 1992. "Chronicle Editor's Trial."

. 2-8 March 1992. "Amnesty Concern."

Attachments)

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. 1 April 1992. "High Court Dismisses Editor's Bail Application."

BBC World Service [London, in English]. 25 November 1991. "Journalists' Association Condemns Editors' Arrest." (FBIS-AFR-91-230 29 November 1991, p. 46).

West Africa [London]. 18-24 May 1992. "Naykene Case."

. 23-29 March 1992. "Ghana: Revelations at Naykene's Trial."

. [London]. 16-22 March 1992. "Chronicle Editor's Trial."

. [London]. 2-8 March 1992. "Amnesty Concern."

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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