Ho Court acquits and discharges 21 suspected LGBTQI advocates over lack of evidence

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    The twenty-one alleged LGBTQI advocates who were arrested in Ho in May this year have been acquitted and discharged by the Ho High Court, following a lack of reasonable and sufficient evidence for prosecution.

    The court noted that the evidence that had been available did not satisfy reasonable standards that would allow further prosecution. Earlier, the Ho High Court 2 presided over by His Lordship Justice Yaw Owoahene-Acheampong had granted an application for bail filed by the accused persons.

    The accused persons had been charged with unlawful assembly after a raid by the police and journalists. Police at the time had said that “clearly there is an agenda by these people to propagate the LGBTQ behavior.”

    However, all 21 persons denied being gays and lesbians. In their response, they noted that at the time of their arrest, they were being taught chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution, the provision of the constitution that provides for the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians.

    The organizers also revealed that the accused persons were actually persons living with HIV/AIDS who were being taught how to navigate through legal procedures, being persons with HIV/AIDS.

    The court determined, nonetheless, that retrieving the LGBTQI materials created reasonable suspicion. Additionally, it also held that the arrest consistent with criminal procedure in which persons could be arrested on suspicion, but not to subdue their rights.

    Consequently, it ruled for a closure of the docket on the case and discharged all 21 persons.