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Diasporian News of Monday, 6 August 2007

Source: Public Agenda

Ghanaians Rotting Away In Egyptian Jails

As the gruesome murder of about 44 Ghanaians in the Gambia remains a mystery, Public Agenda has gathered that many Ghanaians are also languishing in Egyptian jails, even after serving their sentences. A case made known to the Public Agenda is that a 47 year old, Stanley Elikem who has finished serving a twenty-year jail term but is still being kept in a prison called Kanater Men’s Prison in Cairo the capital of Egypt.

According to family sources Elikem was sentenced on the 4th October 1986 and should have completed his sentence last year but since then frantic efforts to get him out have proved futile.
The family source who gave his name as Mr Nowell Bensah disclosed to newsmen that the young man together with other Ghanaians left the shores of Ghana in search of greener pastures in the early 1980s.
Initially he was communicating with them through letters until he stopped writing over a five year period although they were still writing to him without getting reply.
Mr Bensah said in the early part of 1990 someone returned from Egypt and broke the news that their family member had been sent to twenty years imprisonment in Egypt for an offence which was not made known to them.
According to him several attempts by the family through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to let Ghana’s Consulate in Egypt to intervene to ensure his released or a fair trial proved futile.
Mr Bensah said after all attempts had failed, they just waited patiently for his return after serving his sentence, since that has been the wish of his mother and father to see him before dying.
Unfortunately his father passed away six years ago without seeing him. The family source said after about 18 years they started communicating with their brother in jail through text messages and was hopeful he would come home last year since that was the twentieth year, but he still remains in jail.
He said while in jail, their brother has written a personal letter to President John Agyekum Kufuor through Ghana’s Ambassador in Egypt informing him of his ordeal.
A Ghanaian ex-convict who served in the same prison as Elikem, told newsmen that more than three Ghanaians have died in that prison in the last three years due to lack of proper medication.
“If you are sick and cannot afford to buy medicine or go to the hospital with your own money the only option is for you to wait and die after which you are given a mass burial,” he said.

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