Only 23 lawyers offer legal aid services in Ghana – Amnesty International

Information contained in Amnesty International’s 2017/2018 annual report indicates that only some 23 lawyers are currently offering legal aid services in Ghana as against over 28 million people. The report revealed about 6 per cent of people who had been put on death row were officially considered mental and intellectual disabled people who had no proper legal representation during trial. This emphasized the poor legal aid regime where only 23 lawyers were captured offering legal services to the poor and marginalized in society. The report also revealed that fewer than 1 out of every 4 death row inmates interviewed by Amnesty International had been able to appeal against their conviction or sentence. Few inmates interviewed were also aware of how to appeal or access legal aid, while most were unable to pay for private lawyers. The Ghana Prisons Service reported that only 12 death row inmates had filed appeals since 2006 – half of which were successful. It emphasized the persistence of overcrowding and lack of access to health care, educational and recreational facilities. Amnesty International, therefore, called on government to speed up the processes toward the abolition of the death penalty by 2019, stating proposals made by the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee to abolish the death penalty continued to be stalled as a result of delays in the constitutional review process. By Godfred Tanam||Ghana  ]]>

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