The Sandema District Court in the Builsa North District of the Upper East Region has sentenced 19-year-old Rufai Alhassan, a self-styled witch-doctor and his accomplice, running a healing centre for alleged witches in Widana in the Upper East Region to four years imprisonment for assault and conspiracy to commit crime.
The suspects were arrested after the Sanneh Institute petitioned the government to close down the healing centre.
They were arraigned at the Sandema Magistrate Court, presided over by His Worship Joseph Baah-Ansah on Friday, July 31, 2020, and charged with conspiracy to commit crime, assault, trial by ordeal and threat of death.
Speaking to Citi News, the Public Affairs Officer of the Upper East Regional Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP David Fianko Okyere, said, out of the five suspects arrested and arraigned, two pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced on their own plea.
However, the other three (3) pleaded not guilty and have been remanded into police custody to reappear on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
“We were able to arrest all the five suspects and arraigned them on the charges of conspiracy to commit crime, assault, trial by ordeal and threat of death. In fact, we sent them to court to secure remand for them to enable police to continue the investigation. But the sitting judge thought it wise to take their plea, so, when their plea was taken, Rufai Alhassan and Issaka Abdulai pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 24 months imprisonment. But they are yet to face the two other charges – trial by ordeal and threat of death. And the other three who pleaded not guilty to all the charges were also remanded into police custody to reappear of August 11, 2020.”
ASP Okyere, said, investigations into the matter will continue unabated and urged the public to volunteer credible information that will lead to more arrests and prosecutions of persons involved in such acts.
“We will continue with our investigations to gather more solid evidence to make our case good at the court. We are entreating the general public to come out with any information leading to such activities so that, police will be able to investigate the matter and present the offenders to the law courts for a decision to be taken”.
The lynching of Akua Denteh has triggered calls for the government to take measures to stop assault against persons accused of witchcraft.