Judge threatens to discharge 13 suspects in secessionist trial

An Accra Circuit Court judge has threatened to discharge 13 suspected Western Togoland secessionists who have been hauled before the court.

The judge, Susana Eduful, expressed her displeasure with the delay tactics employed by the state prosecution led by ASP Slyvester Asare.

She gave them a week’s ultimatum to conclude its investigations and come up with something more concrete and substantial.

“If after one week, you are not able to say anything to advance the case, I will discharge the accused persons. You cannot continue to do this,” the judge said.

The judge subsequently remanded the 13 accused persons.

Lawyers who were making a case for bail were left disappointed at the judge’s ruling.

The lawyers had argued that some of the accused persons were simply going to visit their relatives in the neighbouring towns.

According to the lawyers, the relatives were even ready to stand as surety for them.

“These people have dependants who depend on them for their very survival. To further remand them, is to further trample on their fundamental human rights.

“We humbly pray that we receive justice and not injustice,” they prayed.

Lawyers who represented the 13 accused persons are James Agbodeka Amorli, Vincent Garr and Theophilus Odonkor

Background

Led by the Chairman of the Homeland Study Group Foundation,  Charles Kormi Kudzodzi, alias Papavi Hogbedetor, the group embarked on a series of activities to have the Volta Region, parts of the North East and Upper East regions declared as an independent state called Western Togoland.

On May 9, 2017, the group unsuccessfully tried to declare the independence of Western Togoland.

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, the Ghana Police Service arrested eight leaders for embarking on activities deemed unlawful.

Papavi Hogbedetor, however, announced the separation of the Western Togoland on social media on Saturday, November 16, 2019, after a group meeting in Ho.

The police declared the 85-year-old leader of the group wanted in December 2019 over the declaration.

In February 2020, the 66 Artillery Regiment arrested 21 suspects from a secret training camp at Kpevedui, near Dzodze in the Ketu North Municipality in the Volta Region.

The group also managed to hoist a flag of Western Togoland in front of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council on the eve of Ghana’s independence day celebration this year.

The 31 persons were arrested over Friday dawn’s revolt in the Volta Region have since been slapped with five charges.

The charges relate to conspiracy to commit crime namely to attend a meeting of the prohibited organisation, to participate in a campaign of a prohibited organisation and rioting with weapons.

Their pleas were not taken as the state prosecutor ASP Sylvester Asare informed the court the state wants them remanded into custody to aid investigations.

He also informed the court the Bureau of National Investigations and other security agencies have left Accra to the Volta Region to conduct further investigations.

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