The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), has asked the Attorney General to appeal against the Delta Force 13 ruling that saw suspects being fined GHC 1, 800 each.
CODEO believes this will send a clear and a much stronger signal to all vigilante groups and their members that such acts will not be tolerated.
“Accordingly, CODEO implores the Attorney-General to appeal against the Delta Force 13 sentencing for stiffer punishment. This will send a clear signal to all such groups and their members that there is no shield under the law if they perpetuate crimes.”
“CODEO reiterates its earlier call for all stakeholders, particularly government, political parties, the security agencies, the media and the general public, to find credible ways of dealing with the canker – lest it would escalate and continue to disturb the country’s peace and stability,” a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Albert Arhin said.
It would be recalled that, during the trial, the 13 suspects were freed from open court allegedly by their colleagues, who were angered by the decision of the judge at the time to remand them into police custody.
The 13 suspects later turned themselves in to the court, and were made to sign a bond of good behaviour, and fined Ghc2,400 cedis each.
But under rather bizarre circumstances, the eight persons who raided the court, were freed for lack of evidence, a development that was widely condemned, considering the threat that action posed to the judiciary.
Following these developments, many have described the fines slapped on the 13 as weak, and a subtle attempt by the government to ensure that the culprits who are members of the ruling party do not spend time in jail.
The 13, who were finally sentenced for the assault on the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator in March 2017, in protest against his appointment, paid a fine of Ghc1,800 each, and were made to sign a bond of good behaviour for twelve months.
This was after their charges were reviewed from assaulting a public officer and causing unlawful damage to rioting.
The judgement handed by the court has however been largely described as lenient.
Kid gloves treatment
CODEO in a statement sided with this position, saying it is “highly disappointed with the kid gloves treatment that the country’s criminal justice system has apparently given to the Delta Force miscreants in the investigation of the incident and its related prosecution.”
CODEO’s appeal comes in the wake of recent attacks by some vigilante groups believed to be affiliated to the NPP.
In the most recent incidents, NPP youth invaded a police station and freed party communicators who were in police custody at Karaga in the Nothern Region.
Also in Tamale, a group of NPP sympathizers calling themselves Burma Camp Youth, have locked up the Northern Regional office of the Ghana School Feeding programme for nearly a week now with no action from the police there.