Ten possible prisoners of conscience were detained, one of whom alleged that he had been severely beaten by police. Prisoners under sentence of death had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The Commission on Human Rights appointed in 1993 decided not to investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions dating from the early 1980s. In February the government imposed a state of emergency in some northern districts when inter-ethnic conflict resulted in the killing of at least 1,000 people, and possibly many more. Members of the Konkomba community were in dispute with other ethnic groups over their rights to a chieftaincy and land ownership. About 150,000 people fled their homes, some into neighbouring Togo. In June the government negotiated a cease-fire between the various groups and in August the state of emergency was lifted. Six possible prisoners of conscience were arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the government of President J.J. Rawlings. Karim Salifu Adam, a former army sergeant and member of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), was arrested in May. He was detained without charge for nearly two months, apparently illegally, before being brought before a court and charged in connection with an alleged coup plot. The prosecution alleged that he had recruited young men for military training in Burkina Faso with the aim of overthrowing the government. He denied the charges in court and said that they had been fabricated by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the security police, because he had refused to implicate opposition leaders in a fictitious coup plot. He alleged that BNI officers had beaten him severely. His trial was repeatedly adjourned, apparently because investigations had not been completed, and had not proceeded by the end of the year. Five Ghanaians who had recently returned to Ghana from the United Kingdom were arrested on 2 September on suspicion of plotting a coup attempt: Sylvester Addae-Dwimoh, a teacher; Alex Kwame Ofei, of dual Ghanaian/British nationality; Kwame Ofori-Appiah; Emmanuel Kofi Osei; and John Kwadwo Owusu-Boakye, a student nurse. They were detained without charge until 23 September, when they were brought before a circuit court in Accra and charged with treason, a capital offence. The prosecution said that they came to Ghana in August 1994, recruited soldiers and obtained arms and ammunition, and that others involved had escaped arrest. The court denied them bail and repeatedly remanded them in custody. By the end of the year they had not been informed of the details of the charges against them, had not been asked to plead to the charges and had not been formally charged before the High Court. The five appeared to have been detained illegally for three weeks – beyond the 48 hours allowed by law – before being brought before the court and charged. They also appeared to have been held illegally in military custody at Gondar Barracks, Burma Camp, Accra, before being transferred to the custody of the security police. Following complaints to the court from their lawyers that access and private interviews with their clients were being denied by the security police, the court ordered their transfer to prison. According to unofficial reports, the defendants, all members of the same church, were conducting prayers together in a guest house at the time of their arrest. It appeared that the motive for their arrest might have been political and that they might have been prisoners of conscience. In December police arrested Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, an opposition journalist, and three others, and seized telecommunications equipment. They were charged with operating a private radio station without a licence and released on bail; their trial had not taken place by the end of the year. It appeared that they might have been prisoners of conscience. In January prisoners who had been under sentence of death for more than 10 years had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment; those who had been sentenced to death for economic sabotage had their sentences reduced to 15 years' imprisonment. The numbers and identities of those who benefited were not announced. However, at least one prisoner known to have been sentenced to death in 1987 for economic sabotage was believed to have had his sentence reduced. Amnesty International estimated that as many as five prisoners under sentence of death for more than 10 years may have benefited. No death sentences were known to have been passed or executions carried out during the year. In late 1994 the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, set up in July 1993 to monitor the observance of human rights in Ghana, said that it would not investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions committed in the early 1980s after Flight-Lieutenant Rawlings seized power for the second time. It had received requests to investigate the killings, particularly from the opposition Popular Party for Democracy and Development (PPDD). The Commission said that the PPDD was not allowed to bring such a request on behalf of those killed, that the volume of work from similar outdated complaints could swamp the Commission and that investigation after such a long time would be difficult. Amnesty International investigated the detention of possible prisoners of conscience.

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