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    Western Togoland: 5 secessionists jailed

    The Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, has sentenced five Western Togoland secessionists to a total of 25 years in prison.

    The five were arrested by the police in September 2020 after they blocked the Aveyime road from Accra with sand and attacked the Aveyime and Mepe Police stations in the Volta Region,

    The High Court convicted the five accused persons on March 17, after finding them guilty of offences contrary to the Prohibited Organisations Act 1976 (Supreme Military Council Decree/SMCD20).

    The first two of the four charges under SMCD20 proffered against the accused were:

    Attending meetings of a prohibited organization contrary to Section 2(1)(b) of SMCD20, and Making contributions to the funds of a prohibited organisation contrary to Section 2(1)(g) of SMCD 20.

    The third and fourth charges were participating in the campaign of a prohibited organization, contrary to Section 2(1)(d) of SMCD20, and being a member of a prohibited organization, contrary to Section 2(1)(i) of SMCD20.

    Mitigation by defence lawyer

    In his mitigation argument for the accused persons, defence lawyer Andrew K. Vortia called on the court to consider the fact that pending the completion of the trial, the accused persons were in custody for two years and six months.

    Additionally, he noted that the accused persons are all below the age of 35 years.

    In view of this, he called on Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh’s court to take into consideration the issues raised before handing the accused persons their custodial sentences.

    State Attorneys’ counter argument

    State Attorneys, in opposition, argued that the accused persons premeditated the crimes they committed. They also shot a police officer and seized a police vehicle.

    The accused persons, according to state attorneys showed no remorse throughout the trial which lasted over one year and so claims by the defence lawyer that his clients have shown remorse can simply not be accurate.

    Against this background, the state attorneys called on the court to hand the accused persons a custodial sentence that will serve as a deterrent to other persons who may be contemplating similar actions in the future.

    By Court

    The Court after hearing the arguments of the parties, sentenced the accused persons to a total of 25 years.

    The first accused, Ebenezer Gblorkpor who was found guilty and convicted on counts one, two, and four was sentenced to five years in prison in hard labour (IHL).

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