The attention of OccupyGhana® has been drawn to a video in circulation on social media since Friday, February 17, 2017. It shows a young woman being stripped naked and abused by a mob in Kumasi. The woman was allegedly caught attempting to steal GH¢1,100 from a shop owner in the PZ Area in Adum, Kumasi.
The practice of mob justice is unfortunately a rather dark side of our country’s history and does not seem to want to go away. It is unconstitutional, barbaric, unjust, unfair and criminal, and often has fatal consequences. It often ensnares the innocent and deprives law enforcement of the chance to thoroughly investigate cases. Moreover, it denies victims due process and constitutes an abuse of their human rights and violation of their dignity.
Article 15 of the Constitution demands respect for the dignity of all persons, and clearly states:
1. The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
2. No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or retained, be subjected to
a. torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
b. any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.”
What this woman went through was clearly a violation of her dignity and self-worth, and no member of that mob had the right to do that to her, regardless of her alleged crime.
Further, Article19(1) also states:
A person charged with a criminal offence shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court.
The lady has not been put before any court. And, no court of law would have sentenced her to public stripping and abuse. The alleged crime, stealing, does not merit the ‘punishment’ she received.
Beyond that is also the issue of shaming. Nothing is as demeaning to a woman as being stripped naked and abused publicly. That is the ultimate reduction of the worth of a woman. As a society, we are and should be better than this. We ought to rise above such dark and barbaric practices that sink us all into depravity. Regardless of what factors have led to this practice, it needs to stop.
We ask that the police use the video to arrest the men responsible for the abuse of this poor woman. We demand that they be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as a deterrent to others. We appeal to all Ghanaians to respect the individual human rights and dignity of their fellow men and women so that together we can grow this great nation.
Yours, in the perpetual Service for God & Country