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Death In Ashaiman Police Cells: Dist. Commander Tells It All   
 
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11-Feb-2010  
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The Ashaiman District Police Commander, Superintendent Peter Cobina, has explained the circumstances that led to the death of the two suspects who were being detained in the cells of the Ashaiman Police Station.

The two suspects, William Asomani, 30, and Isaka Salifu, 38, who were on remand at the station died last Sunday evening and Monday morning respectively, while four others collapsed as a result of high temperatures in the cell.

The two suspects, according to the District Commander, were being held for causing harm.

Supt. Peter Cobina admitted that the cause of deaths might have come from the severe heat in the room.

He stated that the Ashaiman Police cell, which was originally built to accommodate between 10 to 20 prisoners, now takes twice the number, saying, “At the time of the deaths, there were 43 persons in the cells.”

He revealed that, “Sometimes, as a result of the severe heat in the room, we have to bring some of the suspects out of the cell to take fresh air and send them back later, even though we know it is dangerous to do that.”

On what accounted for the high number of prisoners in the cell, the Police Commander explained that the number of prisoners, who are to be sent on remand to the Nsawam Prison and other places, are most of the time rejected by the prisons officials on health grounds.

In other cases too, they cannot be sent to the major prisons, because of court orders to keep such suspects in police custody to reappear at later dates, saying, “When this happens, we have no other choice than to keep them here, and this contributes to the swelling in the number of prisoners in our cell.”

Information gathered from other sources indicate that usually when the room temperature rises, the prisoners shower to bring their body temperatures down, but unfortunately, there was no water to help them on Monday, because there was no water flowing from the taps.

Supt. Peter Cobina however noted that it was not the intention of the police to keep suspects in the cells under such conditions, adding that there were procedures as to how and when one would have to be released, or kept as a suspect in police custody.

The news of the death of the two suspects got to the general public like bushfire, and in no time, attracted hundreds of residents and passersby to the Ashaiman District Police Station, to witness the unfortunate incidence.

When the Commander was asked what plans the Police Service had for the expansion of the cell to avoid such an incidence again, he hinted that it was his prayer that the prison be expanded, to take in more remand prisoners to take the pressure of police station cells, but was however quick to add that as and when that would be done, he was not in a position to determine.
 
 
Source: The Chronicle /Ghana
 
 

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