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General News of Friday, 19 August 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Xavier-Sosu, others sue Obinim for lashing ‘fornicators’

A private legal practitioner who pursues human rights issues, Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, has together with two other people, sued the International Godsway Church (IGC) and its founder, Bishop Daniel Obinim, for the alleged assault of two teenagers during a service.

Lawyer Sosu had already told Citi News that the act was “unacceptable” and “disgraceful” adding that it violated Article 15 of Ghana’s constitution which deals with the respect for human dignity.

A video of the incident, which went viral on social media, showed Obinim, whipping two teenagers with a belt during a service at the church on live TV, for allegedly engaging in sexual relations and attempting to abort a subsequent pregnancy.

According to a writ seen by citifmonline.com, Francis-Xavier Sosu, Daniel Agbavor, and Lawyer Irene Aborchie, have sued the preacher and the church over the “violation of the 1992 Constitution, as it relates to the protection of dignity of every member of the Respondent’s Church who is a Ghanaian whose rights are protected by the 1992 Constitution.”

According to the complainants, Obinim and his church have a reputation for such “dehumanizing and cruel” actions and that “if care is not taken the exercise of religious freedom would violently violate the 1992 Constitution.”

“I am advised by Counsel and I verily believe same to be true that our right to challenge an arbitrary use of religious power of the 2nd Respondent, arises out of the application of Article 2 of the 1992 Constitution and several decided cases which had held that individuals may bring action for enforcement of constitutional breaches and though not expressly mentioned in the 1992 Constitution, is considered to be inherent in a democracy intended to secure the freedom and dignity of man as articulated by Article 33(5).

The complainants believe that, unless action is taken against the IGC and Obinm, it would send a message to other religious organisations that such an action is acceptable under the guise of religion.

“The belief that not only are the rights of these members and followers going to be abused with impunity but also other religious groupings are bound to take a cue from this conduct and perpetrate atrocities against their members and followers in the name of religious rights to the detriment of their member and followers and the entire nation as a whole,” the writ noted.

The complainants are also seeking and order of injunction against the respondents which would restrain them, “their agents, assigns, privies and workmen and any other person working under their authority or purporting to work in their names, from any further conduct such as beating, caning, stepping, spiting, insulting, inducements of fear and threat of death, invoking curses and any conduct whatsoever described which violates the dignity of their members and followers and constitute degrading, cruel and dehumanizing treatment to their members and followers.”

The police have indicated that they are looking into the matter, while the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has filed a complaint against Obinim at the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU).

Another complaint had been reportedly been filed against the controversial preacher at the Tema General Office. Meanwhile, Daniel Obinim, has stated that he would cooperate with any investigation by the police into the incident.

“If they think they have every reason to invite him, he is a law abiding citizen of this country. He will avail himself for any questioning or any investigation,” his media aide, Joseph Osei Brenyah, told Citi News .

Obinim had earlier responded to the criticism directed at him for his actions, describing some Ghanaians as hypocrites for judging him for his actions.

“The Bible in Proverbs says if you love your child, you discipline them. That is why I beat the children, because of their immorality… For some of you, if it were your child, you would have beaten them more than I did,” Obinim said.

“If it were your child, would you sit there for them to spoil? The kids are by my side, should I throw them out for this or what? Do not speak about things you don’t understand.