Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the Ghana Embassy in Tripoli, Libya has commenced consular services to at least 20 Ghanaian prisoners arrested for various crimes.

The prisoners, according to the ministry, committed crimes including operating brothels, consumption of alcohol in public, drug peddling and use, non-possession of valid travel documents (passport), as well as attempts to illegally cross to Europe, through the Mediterranean Sea.

This follows a story by the Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper with the headline “Ghanaian Prisoners in Libya Cry for Help.”

In a statement, the Ministry indicated “Although a number of our convicted nationals would claim to have completed serving their prison sentences, our checks indicate that there were instances where some of them were caught drunk at brothels and without necessary documentation and could thus be serving multiple sentences longer than what they had anticipated.”

The statement added, “From experience, some Ghanaians sentenced in prisons or detention centres sometimes, though much aware of their prison terms, try to court sympathy by making atrocious audio recordings with the hope of securing a possible release or deportation, and thereby avoiding the dire conditions in Libyan prisons and detention centres.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry who has pledged its continuous support for the citizens says it commenced engagement way back in May 2021 to facilitate the release of these prisoners.

“Our Mission in Tripoli continues to make strenuous efforts to ascertain official information from the relevant Libyan authorities on the condition of our compatriots under detention across Libya and the actual sentences they are serving.

“These engagements with Libyan prison authorities to facilitate the release of our compatriots go as far back as May 2021, relative to those in their custody who claimed to have finished serving their sentences.”