Ghanaians perish in Togolese prisons over ‘petty’ crimes
Tucked away in some super-crowded Togolese Prisons and pathetically labelled ‘you can’t be helped’ appears to be the verdict passed on hundreds of Ghanaian prisoners locked up in Togolese Jail by the Ghanaian Mission in Togo.
Lamenting their ordeal in an interview from their jail cell in faraway Togo, the neglected Ghanaian prisoners who took turns to engage this reporter in a chat about their fate bemoaned the attitude of the Ghanaian Mission in Togo towards them.
According to the prisoners, most of them have been languishing in jail for various crimes such as default in debt payment, alleged rape cases, suspected murders, street fighting and all kinds of allegations.
Mr. Atipo (pseudo) who first spoke to this reporter registered their displeasure with the Ghanaian Embassy in Togo for neglect as they compared them (Ghana Mission) to the other foreign missions who visits their nationals in jail with all sorts of reliefs and in some instances assist the innocent ones or those whose cases can easily be resolved be freed.
He said, there are people who are doing time in jail for owing less than a CFA1000 which otherwise could have been easily resolved but that is truly the sad case we face here.”
Narrating how he landed in prison, Mr. Atipo explained that he only went in to help a man who was dying after the latter had been beaten to pulp in a fight by playing the good Samaritan who took him in his own car to the hospital but the man died on arrival and authorities would accept no other explanation.
He has currently served 13 years out of fourteen. “It’s really a difficult situation in Togolese prisons and there are some Ghanaians here who have done six to nine years without trial, it’s so very difficult to get bail here sometimes”, Mr. Atipo stressed.
Another called E.K from a town in the Volta Region, indicated that he has actually been in jail for some seven years and the last time they had a visit from the Ghanaian Mission in Togo was in 2014 and yet they always get a wind of President Akuffo-Addo visits to Togo any time he does visit.
He said, its embarrassing and shameful to them as Ghanaians when they have to beg or receive reliefs from other embassies like Nigeria, Colombia, Cameroon and the rest of them when they visit their Nationals in jail and yet they (the Ghanaians) are even closest to home.