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General News of Wednesday, 23 July 2003

Source: GNA

S.G. Antor's son testifies at NRC

Accra, July 22, GNA - Mr Robert Kwame Antor, son of S.G. Antor, Former Ghana's Ambassador, on Tuesday said some strange people, who did not look like Ghanaians maltreated his father when he was detained in the Nsawam Prisons between 1961 and 1966. Mr Antor, who appeared before the National Reconciliation Commission public hearing in Accra, spoke in tears as he told the Commission his father's Chevrolet car was lost when he came back from detention.

Mr Antor, now resident at Logba Alakpeti, said Police in 1957 arrested his father, former Leader of the Trans Volta Togoland Party, who later became a Member of Parliament, on a treason charge. This was after his father along with one Kojo I K; F. K. Ametobra; Kojo Dumega and Alex Odame had earlier been arrested at Alavanyo.

His father appealed to the International Court of Justice in Tthe Hague, and was called back to Parliament in 1958. However, he was arrested again in 1961 and detained for five years in the Nsawam Prisons where his father who did not feel well by then was also denied proper nutrition. His two uncles, who visited him, were tailed and they had to go into exile.

Mr Antor said his father did not feel well and was admitted for two and a -half- months at the St Magaret's Hospital at Kpando. He said his father was made Ambassador to Togo by the Government of Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia but after was removed the government was toppled. Ambassador Antor stayed in Togo after the coup, his son said, adding that four years later Mrs Antor, his mother died. He said the family approached the then Volta Regional Minister for permission to bring the body home for burial but they were not allowed to do so she was buried in exile.

His father also later died in exile, but his body was brought and buried at home. Mr Antor said the bursaries of two of his brothers, then at Mawuli School were revoked and he was together with them sacked from the School. He said he sought employment as a pupil teacher to look after his younger siblings. Mr Antor prayed the Commission for assistance to complete the building his father started.

Commissioner General Emmanuel Alexander Erskine said it was unfortunate that children of politicians became victims because of political differences and urged Mr Antor to be proud of his father, saying what happened should not have happened. Commission Chairman Justice Kweku Etrew Amua-Sekyi remarked that it was necessary that Ghanaians respected their predecessor and the role they played in the country's development.

Another Witness, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Agbley from Tafi Mador, near Hohoe, said he was then the Chairman of the town's Development Committee. He said the Committee was not affiliated to any political party, but co-operated with whichever government for the town's development. He said he was arrested three days after the overthrow of the Busia Administration. He was detained for three weeks at the Hohoe Police Station without any charges being preferred against him, and then detained further for a month at the Kpando Prisons.

Mr Agbley said other people were arrested en route while he was being sent to the Kpando Prisons. They were screened at the Kpando Prison and together with others detainees, they were transferred to the Nsawam Prisons. He said he spent nine months there. He said he spent a total of one year in detention, and he reported for two weeks to the Police after his release. Two of his five children died while he was in detention, and his wife divorced him and took the rest away. He said by the time he returned from jail, most of his blacksmith's working tools were lost.

Mr Kodzo Femevor, Driver, told the Commission that soldiers in mufti beat him up and forced him into a vehicle seized by another soldier at the Ho Lorry Station on June 15, 1979. He said there had been a military order disallowing anyone to from chartering a vehicle so when the two soldiers came to the station and attempted to charter a vehicle he disallowed them from entering it and for his impertinence they slapped him. He said soon after another vehicle that had been seized by a soldier arrived and they put him in and sent him to the Ho Barracks. They beat him severely and shaved him with an old blade and dumped him into the cells, adding that the then Ho GPRTU Chairman was also subjected to a drill and made to roll under a vehicle.

He said he was picked later from the cells and was beaten with his own sandals. He said he was taken into a room, laid on a table and lashed 36 times. Mr Femevor said he lost two of his teeth during the beatings and later lost more after he was released on the pleas of some officers at the Barracks. He said he felt pains all over his body and prayed the Commission for compensation for his torture.