"Ghana Sentences Six, Including Soldiers, to Death for Coup Plot"

Six Ghanaians, including three soldiers, have been sentenced to death by hanging for their roles in a coup plot three years ago. This marked Ghana’s first treason trial since 1966 when the country’s post-independence leader, Kwame Nkrumah, was overthrown.

The six were apprehended in 2021 while testing weapons in the capital city of Accra, allegedly in a bid to overthrow the government. The group, which includes a gunsmith, pleaded not guilty during a trial that captured the nation’s attention. Defense lawyers have stated their intention to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court. Three other individuals, including a senior police officer and two military officers, were acquitted.

There was a significant security presence outside the High Court in Accra during the sentencing on Wednesday. The court found the six guilty of high treason and conspiracy to commit high treason.

According to court documents, the men were arrested in possession of locally manufactured guns, improvised explosive devices, and AK-47 rifles. State prosecutors argued that the group had planned to organize protests, ostensibly to overthrow President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government ahead of the 2020 general elections. The court stated that it found the evidence against the men, including intercepted communications and testimonies, to be compelling.

Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, who led the prosecution, hailed the court’s verdict as “significant.” He emphasized the severity of the offense of treason under Ghana’s constitution, which is punishable by death. Ghana last carried out an execution in 1992 when it transitioned to democratic rule. In the past year, lawmakers voted to abolish the death penalty for ordinary crimes, replacing it with a life sentence.

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Piers Potter


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