Oliver-Barker-Vormawor Photo by: Dela Russel Ocloo
Oliver-Barker-Vormawor Photo by: Dela Russel Ocloo

Tamale Central MP says he will file an urgent question into the allegations by #FixtheCountry Movement Convener that the police tortured him while he was under detention for allegedly threatening a coup on social media.

Murtala Mohammed said the question regarding Oliver Barker-Vormawor’s alleged manhandling will be directed at either the Attorney General or the Minister for the Interior.

Convenor of the #FixTheCountry Movement, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, had alleged in a live YouTube broadcast on Monday that he was maltreated by security officials while under detention for allegedly threatening a coup on social media.

“On Friday, February 11, 2022, I was unlawfully detained by security officials of this regime, tortured, and subsequently held without just cause for 35 days,” he said in his first public statement since his release from police custody.

According to the Cambridge University PhD student, he spent 35 days in a cell that was “designed for four people, but ultimately filled with nearly 30 detainees.”

He added that the cells were “without ventilation and had bed bugs, cockroaches, and rats crawling inside.”

According to the Tamale Central legislator, these allegations are unacceptable if they are true.

Murtala, speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show with Benjamin Akakpo on Wednesday, April 13, thus, insisted that these acts cannot be allowed to be reoccurring.

“…perhaps from Parliament, some of us will begin to find ways we can force the state to improve those conditions because if the gentleman is alleging torture and the other conditions under which they are subjected, then it’s unacceptable.

Murtala Muhammed

“So the moment Parliament resumes, I’ll find an urgent question for either the Minister for Justice and Attorney General or the Interior Minister to come and explain why he was subjected to that unacceptable conditions.”

He also blamed the current government and successive ones for doing nothing or very little to address the challenges of the prison facilities in the country.

“It’s the state’s responsibility, and I’m not blaming only this government, but all governments haven’t done much in improving the conditions of the prisoners.

“I don’t think that we have done much in improving the conditions at the prisons because those young men and women who have been imprisoned are still citizens of the country, and the conditions under which they are imprisoned should be of concern to all of us.”

Meanwhile, a Deputy Attorney-General, Alfred Yeboah, has refuted the allegations.

Mr Yeboah insists the activist, who spent more than a month behind bars, is making mere allegations without substantive evidence.

He explained that Barker-Vormawor, per the Convention against Torture Instrument, failed to indicate any intentional conduct by the Police officers to inflict severe pain on him while he was in their custody.

“Talking about torture, I beg to differ unless he provides other evidence. From what I have listened to, he is talking about a cell meant for three, keeping about thirty. How does that amount to torture?” he quizzed.

He, however, noted that even with such complaints, Barker-Vormawor will not make a strong case since it is not anything new in Ghana’s prisons and cells.

“He is not the only person who has been to a cell or prison facility. I’ve known people who have been to prison, they’ve come back and seen the conditions there, and they had cried about the conditions there; he may have a point there.

“We don’t have a 100 per cent prison and cell conditions in Ghana due to, of course, resource constraints, but every government has been trying to make sure that we get the best out of it in the circumstance for ourselves…what he has said so far does not amount to any aspect of torture,” he added.