Incarcerated Managing Editor of The Daily Searchlight newspaper, Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie has finally landed back at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison, making him the most expensive prisoner in the country today, having toured three detention facilities in Ghana in less than a week.
Mr. Kuranchie was convicted to serve 10 days for criminal contempt by the nine-member Supreme Court justices hearing the ongoing election petition, on Tuesday July 2, 2013.
He was then sent to the Nsawam Prison in the Eastern Region together with a member the NDC communications team, Stephen Atubiga, who had also been found guilty of the same offence.
The newspaper editor was, however, picked up at dawn the next day and taken to the Ho Prison in the Volta Region whilst Atubiga was sent to the Akuse Prison and later released.
But early Saturday morning, it was gathered that he had been taken from the Ho Prison to an unknown location, though speculations became rife he was being transferred to a prison in Kete Krachie in northern Volta.
According to sources close to Mr. Kuranchie at the Nsawam Prison, he was taken out of Ho on Friday night to Krachie Prison where he spent the night.
He was moved again on Saturday and after a tortuous journey, prison officers finally sent Kuranchie back to the Nsawam Prison where he is currently being held.
Sources said Ken Kuranchie was in high spirits and took oats and fried eggs for breakfast yesterday.
Ken Kuranchie therefore virtually became an expensive prisoner considering the cost of fuel and armed guards that had to shuttle him from one prison to another on each of these occasions, not to talk about the risk involved.
He was moved in a vehicle with registration number WR 1564-10.
In an interview with DAILY GUIDE, Ken Kuranchie’s wife, Lucy, could not hide her frustration and that of the family.
She narrated her ordeal to the paper as captured below in an interview on Saturday:
“My husband woke up early Tuesday morning and told me he was going to start production for the next day’s edition before he goes to the court.
“When he left, I decided not to put on the television because I have high blood pressure, so I locked myself up in the room since the children had left for school.
“Around 1:30 to 2:00pm, I decided to switch on the television because I thought by then they might have finished with the issue but I realized they were on break. Later when I put it on, I realized the first person (referring to Stephen Atubiga) had been called followed by another man (Kwaku Boahen).
“Moments later, I heard the mention of my husband’s name and I saw him walking down to the witness box. At this point, I couldn’t watch it anymore so I left the room to take a walk in the house. So that by the time I returned, they would have finished with the case.
“When I went back into the room, I realized they had gone for a break which took very long.
“Not long thereafter, I received a call that the vehicle that brings the children back from school had developed a fault so another was bringing them. So I went out of the house to meet them when a friend called to ask whether I’ve heard the outcome of the case and I said no.
“She then informed me my husband has been sentenced to jail; I panicked at once. When I asked how long he was given, she told me 10 days.
“All this while, I was waiting for my children and realized my pressure was going up; I couldn’t speak when the children arrived because I would have burst into uncontrollable tears. So I asked them to go and drop their bags and change their clothes.
“Just when they entered the hall they saw their father being handcuffed on TV. So I decided to put off the TV but one of the children asked me to stop because when their father dropped them off at school in the morning, he charged them to be good girls and they should take whatever happens in court that day as part of life and in good faith.
“It was only after they put their father in the vehicle that they all left the room to change their clothes. By this time, everyone had burst into uncontrollable tears. It was left between me and my God because he didn’t tell me he won’t return because all he told me was that I would hear from him after the court.
“But if it’s today, that I’m speaking to you that I will hear from him, I don’t know because I haven’t heard from him ever since.
“Early Wednesday morning, we (she and Ken’s sister called Irene) were on our way to Nsawam Prison where he was taken to give him some items since he didn’t take anything along when someone called. He asked me if I am Ken’s wife and I said yes and he again asked where I was and I told him I was going to Nsawam Prison to see my husband; but he told me to go back since they were there to visit him themselves but were informed he was taken away around 3:00am and nobody seemed to know where he had been taken to.
“Not long thereafter, I received a call from Oman FM and when offered the opportunity to speak, I used the time to appeal to those in charge to let me know where they were keeping my husband so I could visit him.
“It was later that we heard he had been taken to Ho. I couldn’t go so my sister in-law went and indeed saw him but since then, anybody I sent, including two of his workers, to visit him was turned away”.
Lucy Kuranchie told DAILY GUIDE she planned to visit her husband together with their four children at the Ho Prison on Sunday when news filtered in that he had been transferred to Kete Krachie and then to Salaga; and she was not sure what to do.
Lucy said she asked Irene to go to the Krachie Prison and check if it was indeed true her brother had been sent there. Irene embarked on the journey but halfway towards Hohoe, she received news that Ken had again been transferred.
Asked how they were coping with life in the absence of her husband, Lucy said “he was the house keeper so it is tough but by God’s grace we are managing to survive.”
“She and the children are in high spirits except that they are worried about the fact that the prison authorities keep transferring her husband from one prison facility to the other.
“If he has expressed his opinion and it is thought to be wrong and he is sent to jail, there is no need transferring him from one place to the other, making it virtually impossible for us to see him”.
Lucy appealed to the authorities to stop frustrating her husband since he is not a murderer.
She expressed profound gratitude to Ghanaians for the encouragement and love shown to the family.
Ken Kuranchie, who is the first child in a family of eight, was born in Tepa in the Ashanti Region to the late William Kuranchie, an Anesthetic, and Florence Kankam, a trader.
He had his basic education at the St Mary’s International School in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region and proceeded to the Opoku Ware Secondary School where he had his secondary education and later went to the University of Ghana for his Bachelor’s Degree.
He started practicing journalism with the P & P entertainment newspaper and moved on to have a stint with the then Guide newspaper (now DAILY GUIDE) and subsequently worked with The Ghanaian Chronicle until he set up his own paper, The Searchlight.
Kuranchie and Lucy have four children between them; Francisca, 24, Bismark, 20, Florence, 14, and William who would be 10 in the next couple of days.
Human Rights Issues
Lawyers and family members of the journalist have taken issue with his transfer from one detention facility to another without cause.
Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and lawyer Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has described the treatment being meted out to The Searchlight Editor as inhuman.
“A prisoner cannot be transferred under those circumstances because it is discriminatory,” he said.
“You cannot say a person is a prisoner, so every 3:00am you go and wake him up and tell him something or take him somewhere. These are matters that are parts and parcel of criminalization. ‘Onipa nye aboa’ (literally translated as human beings are not animals)”, he said in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM.
An obviously depressed wife of Kuranchie could equally not fathom the psychological trauma that her husband was being subjected to.
“If he has expressed his opinion and it’s thought to be wrong and he is sent to jail, there is no need transferring him from one place to the other, making it virtually impossible for us to see him”, she told DAILY GUIDE during an interview at their private residence.
The Public Affairs Director of the Service, DSP Courage Atsem, gave the assurance that the Daily Searchlight editor is in safe custody “hale and hearty and he is happy where he is. He is comfortable where he is, and he is safe, and when he is due for release, he will be released.”
Mr. Atsem told Citi Fm on Saturday that the constant massing up of supporters at the prisons to visit Mr. Kuranchie contributed to the decision to move him to a different prison because according to him, “it is not usual for groups of people, grouping of various inclinations massing up at a prison gate asking to visit one prisoner at all cost. You will agree with me that this is not a normal thing.
“According to our rules and regulations, a prisoner is allowed one visit in one month after serving two months of his sentence and so if we should go strictly by that, it means that Mr. Kuranchie, in particular, is not even entitled to any visit at all,” he added.
Source: Daily Guide
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