CDD-Ghana condemns arrest and prosecution of 21 LGBT+ activists

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has expressed disgust at the manner in which the 21 young Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists who were arrested in Ho have been handled by the Courts and State.

The Centre, in a statement, stated that it finds it unlawful for the police to hold these individuals in custody for over 19 days.

“The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is appalled at how the Courts and the State have handled this matter and have allowed these young Ghanaians to be incarcerated for 19 days and counting.

“First, it is clear that gathering to educate people at a hotel venue on LGBT+ issues is not a criminal act
or crime under the Constitution or any statute. At the time of their arrest, the arrestees were not engaged in or found to have engaged in any unlawful act or in possession of any unlawful or prohibited items.

“Their arrest and subsequent mistreatment are, therefore, a clear violation of their constitutional right to freedom of assembly and association,” the statement said.

It alleged that the circuit court’s refusal to grant bail on three different occasions unfairly prejudices the accused persons even before their trial.

The statement added that in a democratic dispensation where the rights of all persons, including social minorities, are guaranteed under the Constitution, targeting and singling out LGBT+ persons just because they chose to associate and not for criminal purposes is uncalled for.

The Association further called on the Attorney-General and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to intercede in the matter in order to put an end to the “needless continuing harassment and violation of the constitutional rights of these 21 compatriots”.

On 22nd May 2021, the 21 LGBT+ activists were arrested at a hotel in Godokpui in Ho after the Volta Regional Police Command picked information from their meeting aimed at advocating and promoting the rights of LGBTs in Ghana.

According to the Volta Regional Police PRO, Sergeant Prince Dogbatse, the suspect had in their possession materials on concepts encouraging homosexuals to boldly announce their sexuality among other related books.

“We also got the LGBT+ Muslim book that is among some of the materials that they are using, they also have gender acronyms coming out.

“A concept that is coming out at encouraging persons involved in these behavior to come out publicly to mention or state the sexuality and all about trans, I mean transgender.”

He said everything they found with the suspects clearly depicts their intentions.

“I mean there is an agenda by these people to propagate the LGBTQ behaviour. For now, we have referred the preliminary charge of unlawful assembly and while we continue our investigation.”