Court Refuses Bail For "Mass Rape" Witness
The woes of Amina Mohammed, the 24 year old woman at the centre of the mass bus rape saga continue to deepen with the refusal of an Accra court to grant her bail after spending nearly 70 hours in police custody. Amina, who was in police custody beyond the stipulated forty eight hours, was finally charged on the afternoon of Tuesday November 2, 2010, for publishing false information intended to cause fear and alarm under Section 208 of the Criminal Code. An application by Amina's lawyer, Professor Ken Attafuah for bail was turned down by the Court. The case has been adjourned to November 9, 2010. She had been held by the police without charge or bail for close to 70 hours in contravention of the Constitution which requires that persons arrested, restricted or detained must, within 48 hours, be granted bail or produced before a court. Amina Mohammed was picked by the police on Saturday October 30 to assist in investigations after she told listeners on Tema-based Adom FM that passengers on board a Tamale-bound bus were forced by armed robbers to rape each other. The story has since assumed interminably controversial proportions with the police and persons who claimed to be co-passengers of Amina denying the story. A claim by some members of the ruling National Democratic Congress including Central Region Director of Communications Allotey Jacobs that the entire saga was an elaborate ploy by the opposition New Patriotic Party has been described as "rubbish" and "balderdash" by NPP Chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey. Prof. Ken Attafuah told a number of radio stations he was not at the moment concerned about whether Amina’s narration of the incident was accurate or not. His concern, he noted, was the flagrant violation of the fundamental human rights and liberties of the lady. He said a bail condition set by the police Monday was not only too difficult to meet but also unknown to the country’s laws, especially after the police visited the suspect's home and saw her relatives. The police had said they will only accept a close relative – and later modified it to say someone who knows her very well – to post a bail bond for Amina. But “This is an exceptional condition unknown to our law which the police have imposed on Amina… “It is not a requirement of the law that a person must be a relative or be known to a suspect for a long time,” he told Joy News Monday. Human rights activist, Nana Oye Lithur agreed. She said police’s demand for a relative to post bail for Amina was “foreign to our law.” If found guilty, Amina could be sentenced to a fine or minor jail term because the offence with which she has been charged is a misdemeanor.