EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 28/08/92
Please bring this action to the attention of the person responsible for outreach work in
your section as it is felt that appeals from lawyers would be particularly useful.
UA 381/92 Fear of ill-treatment/legal concern 3 December 1992
GHANA: Johnny Hansen, lawyer in his 50s, former Secretary of the
Interior 1982-3, member of the People's Heritage Party
Belshilsu Damba (female) ] wives
Hajia Damba (female) ] of
Hajia Ayeshetu Damba (female)] Alhaji Tahiru Bambali Damba
Musah Damba, brother of Alhaji Tahiru Bambali Damba
and about eight soldiers and commandos
Amnesty International is concerned at the detention without charge or trial of opposition
leader Johnny Hansen, four relatives of a former detainee and some eight soldiers. They
are apparently suspected of involvement in three bomb attacks in Accra and Tema in November
1992 which damaged government buildings. The organization is further concerned that they
might be subjected to torture or ill-treatment whilst in detention.
Johnny Hansen was arrested on 24 November 1992 and his house reportedly ransacked by the
security forces. The three wives and a brother of a former political detainee, Alhaji Tahiru
Bambali Damba, have also been detained, as well as about eight soldiers and members of
the Forces Reserve Battalion (commandos); their dates of arrest are not known. According
to some reports, Alhaji Damba himself has been arrested. A week earlier the Secretary
(government minister) for the Interior said dismissed military personnel and political
leaders were plotting to destabilize the government's programme for the transition to
constitutional rule. The detainees are believed to be held, incommunicado, at the
headquarters of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), the security police, in Accra.
Johnny Hansen reportedly requires regular medication for a blood pressure problem.
It is not clear under what law they are held. The Preventive Custody Law of 1982, which
allowed indefinite administrative detention without charge or trial, was replaced in
September 1992 by the Public Order (No. 2) Law, a supplement to the 1972 Law on Maintenance
of Public Law and Order. This new law allows the Secretary of the Interior to order 14
days' administrative detention without charge or trial of any person whose actions are
likely, among other things, to foment ethnic conflict or violence. After 14 days any
continuation of the detention must be approved by a review panel of three Supreme Court
At least 34 political detainees held without charge or trial were released in the first
half of 1992; a few convicted political prisoners remain in prison. Many of the detainees
had been held without charge or trial since the mid-1980s on suspicion of involvement in
real or imagined conspiracies against the government; some had been tortured or severely
beaten at the time of their arrest and many were held in harsh conditions.