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October 13, 2022

Ghana: American Bar Association Center for Human Rights Intends to Observe the Treason Trial of Ghanaian Lawyer and Activist Oliver Mawuse Barker-Vormawor

Flag of Ghana.

Flag of Ghana.

Photo Credit: SKopp, Wikimedia Commons, 2004.

The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, through its Justice Defenders Program, intends to monitor the treason trial of Oliver Mawuse Barker- Vormawor, who is scheduled to appear before the High Court, Criminal Division 3, in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday October 13th, 2022.

Mr. Barker-Vomawor is the lead convenor of the group #FixTheCountry, that describes itself as a non-partisan and non-political civic movement. He was arrested in February 2022, immediately after his arrival at the international airport in Accra, in relation to social media posts he made wherein he criticized the government’s then Electronic Levy Bill. The authorities allege his posts advocated for the violent overthrow of the government. On March 17, the Tema High Court granted him bail and he was released the next day. On August 1, the Ashaiman District Court in Tema, committed Mr. Barker-Vormawor on two counts of Treason Felony in terms of Section 182 (b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 [Act 29].    

Trial monitoring, which entails sending an independent observer into court to observe trial proceedings, permits an assessment of whether a trial meets regional and international standards. Ghana is a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which guarantee the right to a fair trial.

The views expressed herein represent the opinions of the authors. They have not been reviewed or approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the position of the Association or any of its entities. (ABA Policy and Procedures Handbook, Chapter 5, Part C). Further, nothing in this report should be considered as legal advice in a specific case.