The controversy surrounding the trial and sentencing of the 36-year-old man who is said to have wanted to kill President John Mahama has finally ended up at Amnesty International.
It follows a petition filed at the international human rights organisation by Lawyer Godwin Adjei-Gyamfi against what he termed as ‘diabolical, gross abuse of process, miscarriage of justice and breach of fundamental human rights’ of Charles Antwi, a native of Dadeasoaba in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
Antwi was arrested last Sunday at the Ringway Gospel Centre branch of the Assemblies of God Church, where the president worships, with an unregistered gun and was alleged to have made clear his intention that he was looking for President Mahama to kill.
He was subsequently handed over to the Cantonments police and later to the National Security and finally landed in court on Tuesday where he, among other things, made weird claims to the effect that he made President Mills to die, expecting that he (Antwi) would be made the next president but President Mahama, who was at the time of President Mills’ death the vice president, stole the presidency from him (Antwi).
It was for this reason he wanted to kill President Mahama, according to the jailed former taxi driver.
Presiding judge Francis Obiri immediately sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment on the charge of illegal possession of firearm, raising public concern over the reason why the judge did not refer the young man to a psychiatric facility for examination, even though the convict’s mother, Afia Agyapomaa, had pointed out that Charles was mentally unstable.
Lawyer Adjei-Gyamfi, a former prosecutor at the Crown Court in the UK, argues that ‘This is most absurd and diabolical as he is mentally unwell, was unrepresented by a lawyer and the maximum sentence on the statute books of the Republic of Ghana is five years’ – the reason he wants Amnesty International head office in London, UK, to wade into the matter.
According to him, ‘Judging from what the convict was saying in court that he ‘wanted to kill the president and take over,’ it suggests that the above named was severely mentally challenged’ and therefore ‘ought to have been granted a lawyer and immediately referred for psychiatric evaluation.’
It therefore baffles many Ghanaians that a man with such questionable character would be sentenced on the spot to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The lawyer is therefore asking the human rights organisation to look into what he described as the ‘absurdity’ because ‘the Republic of Ghana has become a land where the strong and rich enjoy justice and the poor is forgotten.’
Family And Friends
Charles’ mother had said her son had a record of mental illness as he often abused her when he was in his elements and referred to her as ‘adoe’ (monkey).
Details have also emerged that Charles once travelled to Libya and later to Spain and then to Italy where he was seeking ‘greener pastures’ before eventually being deported to Ghana after authorities there detected his mental challenge.
Three of the friends he travelled with to Libya were said to have had similar problems before they died.
A friend of Charles Antwi’s has also narrated that he (Antwi) had been promising to make him (friend) his (Antwi’s) body guard when he became president and that sometimes he chained his motorbike to his hand when going to bed to protect it from being stolen.
Charles was said to be driving a taxi in his village but had to be restrained because he could not abide by basic road traffic regulations.
According to his own friend, Charles used to drive at 180kph on deplorable roads in the area and used nine minutes to cover a distance that every driver used 30 minutes to do and that when he was asked to stop, he pleaded with the drivers’ union to allow him drive at 150 kph, which defies logic.
With calls intensifying for Charles Antwi to be sent to a psychiatric doctor, a group of lawyers are said to be teaming up to go and appeal against his conviction since they believe he was not properly treated.
Credit: Daily Guide