A high court in Ghana has sentenced six people to death, including three soldiers, after finding them guilty of plotting to carry out a coup against the country’s government in 2019.
The case which has been in court since 2021 has drawn significant attention due to the severity of the charges and the involvement of military personnel.
Ghana’s constitution states that: “Any person who – (a) by himself or in concert with others by any violent or other unlawful means, suspends or (b) aids and abets in any manner any person referred to in paragraph (a) of this clause; commits the offence of high treason and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to suffer death”.
Three persons out of the original group of nine which comprises civilians, junior and senior military personnel, as well as a senior police officer, were acquitted on Wednesday.
The court found the remaining six guilty of high treason and conspiracy to commit high treason.
Prior to their conviction, the group had been accused of allegedly hiring the services of a local gun manufacturer to produce improvised explosive devices (IEDs), guns and ammunition with which they intended to carry out their plans.
According to Modern Ghana, local media, the court had also heard audio tapes of the meetings attended by some of the accused persons.
The report said Esther Saan, the only female among the accused persons, was heard on the tape saying President Nana Akufo-Addo must be eliminated when captured on the day of the coup.
Godfred Dame, Ghana’s attorney general who led the prosecution, said the court verdict was “significant”.
“The constitution of Ghana as the fundamental law of the country, which has sustained the stability of the nation, frowns seriously upon any attempt to overthrow a government and that is why that offence [treason] is punishable by death,” Dame said.
The sentencing renewed calls by rights activists on Thursday for the death penalty to be abolished.
Defence lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling at the supreme court.