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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                

Republic of Ghana

Ghana’s prisons are overcrowded, and conditions are often life-threatening, though the prison service has attempted to reduce congestion and improve the treatment of inmates in recent years.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Ghana

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Ghana.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Palestinian held in Ghana: ‘I was tortured for 35 days’

Middle east Monitor MEMO, 1 April 2019

[accessed 20 May 2019]

AOHR UK confirmed that Baajour was “subjected to physical torture, beating all over his body, psychological torture, insult and verbal abuse by white-skinned officers speaking little Arabic”.

Baajour added: “They detained me in a narrow room, 1×1 meters, deprived me of sleep for up to three consecutive days, poured cold water on me and beat me on the head strongly, in addition to handcuffing my hands and feet all the time. They threatened me with kidnapping my 12-year-old daughter and killing her, while verbally abusing me.”

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ghana

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 21 July 2021]


In April there were multiple accusations of police aggressively enforcing the government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures. In some instances witnesses filmed police beating civilians with horsewhips, canes, and similar implements.

Impunity remained a significant problem in the Ghana Police Service. Corruption, brutality, poor training, lack of oversight, and an overburdened judicial system contributed to impunity. Police often failed to respond to reports of abuses and, in many instances, did not act unless complainants paid for police transportation and other operating expenses.


Officials held much of the prison population in buildings that were originally colonial forts or abandoned public or military buildings, which despite improvements had poor ventilation and sanitation, substandard construction, and inadequate space and light. The Ghana Prisons Service periodically fumigated and disinfected prisons. There were not enough toilets available for the number of prisoners, with as many as 100 prisoners sharing one toilet, and toilets often overflowed with excrement.


Inadequate recordkeeping contributed to prisoners being held in egregiously excessive pretrial detention, a few for up to 10 years.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 May 2020]


Ghana’s prisons are overcrowded, and conditions are often life-threatening, though the prison service has attempted to reduce congestion and improve the treatment of inmates in recent years.

Like a Death Sentence - Abuses against Persons with Mental Disabilities in Ghana

Human Rights Watch, 2 Oct 2012

[accessed 26 July 2017]

People with mental disabilities in Ghana whom Human Rights Watch interviewed endured a variety of human rights abuses in psychiatric facilities and prayer camps. These include, but are not limited to: involuntary admission and arbitrary detention, prolonged detention, overcrowding and poor hygiene, chaining, forced seclusion, lack of shelter, denial of food, denial of adequate health care, involuntary treatment, stigma and its consequences, physical and verbal abuse, electroconvulsive therapy, and violations against children with disabilities.

Ghana’s Treatment of Mentally Ill May Be Torture, UN Report Says

Pauline Bax, Bloomberg News, 10 March 2014

[accessed 17 March 2014]

[accessed 25 August 2016]

The practice in Ghana of shackling the mentally ill to trees, depriving them of food or using electroshock therapy without anesthesia may constitute torture, according to the United Nations.

People with mental disabilities in the West African nation live in inhumane conditions in psychiatric hospitals or are shackled to receive so-called spiritual healing in prayer camps, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, said in a report presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva today.

“Shackling of any duration, denial of food and medicine, inadequate shelter and involuntary treatment constitute torture,” Mendez said.

CHRAJ speaks for victims of torture

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 22 Jan 2014]

Mr Joseph Whittal said the day served as a reminder to all that torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment are international crimes against humanity.   He said in Ghana although the issue of torture was considered illegal, it was yet to be tackled nationwide as grave injustices still persisted within the Ghanaian society.

He said reports of Police brutality remained a recurring problem in communities, while the excessive use of force during arrest, high-handed attempts to enforce law, and orderly conduct as well as forced evictions of inhabitants from their homes and properties by security forces continued to be the order of the day.   Additionally, he said, the inhumane and degrading treatment of persons in detention centres including police cells, prisons and prayer camps continued to be areas where citizens rights were infringed upon with impunity.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/GHA/CO/1 (2011)

[accessed 27 February 2013]

Coerced confessions

13. The Committee values the information and clarification given by the representative of the State party in respect of the 1975 Evidence Decree (NRCD 323), which regulates the taking of evidence in legal proceedings, and which renders inadmissible as evidence statements made in the absence of “an independent witness approved by the person other a police officer or a member of the Armed Forces”. However, the Committee is concerned that the regulation does not refer explicitly to torture. It is also concerned at the lack of information on decisions taken by the Ghanaian courts to refuse confessions obtained under torture as evidence (art. 15).

The State party should ensure that legislation concerning evidence to be adduced in judicial proceedings is brought in line with the provisions of article 15 of the Convention, so as to explicitly exclude any evidence obtained as a result of torture.

The Committee requests the State party to submit information on the application of the 1975 Evidence Decree, and on whether any officials have been prosecuted and punished for extracting a confession under torture.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 2 January 1, 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 28 January 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there continued to be credible reports that police beat and abused suspects, prisoners, demonstrators, and other citizens. Security force use of torture resulted in at least one death during the year (see section 1.a.). Severe beatings of suspects in police custody reportedly occurred throughout the country but largely went unreported. In many cases, police denied allegations or claimed that force was justified.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Ghana",, [accessed <date>]