June 30, 2015
President John Mahama has freed some 900 prisoners ahead of tomorrow’s Republic Day holiday.
Tomorrow marks Ghana’s 55th year as a republic after it weaned itself from British colonial rule. The amnesty granted is a yearly activity exercised by the president.
Of the 900, 883 are first-time offenders who showed good behaviour after being sentenced. 14 out of the number who were on death row have also had their sentence reduced to life imprisonment.
A statement from the Interior Minister says the president expects them to be of good behaviour.
In 2013, some 900 prisoners were freed. Some 1104 others also gained their freedom in 2014.
The power to grant amnesty is stipulated under the Prerogative of Mercy in Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Article 72 of the Constitution states that “The president may, acting in consultation with the Council of State: grant to a person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions; or discount low price
b. grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of punishment imposed on him for an offence; or
c. substitute a less severe form of punishment for a punishment imposed on a person for an offence; or
d. remit the whole or part of a punishment imposed on a person or of a penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to Government on account on any offence.”