Court frees convicted NPP activists
An appeals Court in Kumasi presided over by Irene Danquah has upheld the appeal by Yahuza Yakubu and four of his colleagues who were handed various sentences by a Tamale High Court for their alleged involvement in the violence that broke out in Tamale in 2009.
The court, in a unanimous decision, granted the appeal of the suspects who maintain they are innocent of the crime they have been charged with.
A Tamale High Court presided over by Justice Lawrence Mensah in 2013 convicted Yahuza Yakubu, a known New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist in Tamale, to death by hanging for the murder of one Rashid Mohammed in February 2009.
His accomplices Majeed Alhassan, Habib Mohammed, Sayibu Alhassan and Imoro Gondanaa were also found guilty for conspiracy and convicted to 36 years in prison each.
Habib Mohammed, the third accused,, was additionally given a 10-year jail term after he was found guilty for causing harm but the sentence would run concurrently according to the judge.
The seven (7) jurors unanimously found the first accused person guilty of murder as charged.
They however by majority decisions of 5: 2, 5: 2, 4:3 and 4:3 found the second, third, fourth and fifth accused persons respectively guilty of conspiracy to murder and were each handed 36 years jail term by the trial judge to begin from the period they were arrested.
Counsel for the accused persons and Former Minister of State at the Interior Ministry, Nana Obiri-Boahen disclosed he was to appeal their conviction in view of the fact that they were innocent of the charges preferred against them.
The five accused persons, are all members of the opposition NPP in the Northern Region, have been in detention for a little over five years now.
An earlier verdict on the case was inconclusive as the jurors were split, prompting the reopening of the case.
They were arrested in February 2009 following reprisal attacks between supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Tamale.
It would be recalled that supporters of the NDC and NPP clashed on February 17, 2009 leading to the death of one Rashid Alhassan, an NDC activist, and the razing down of about 27 houses.
The skirmishes also led to the destruction of vehicles, motorbikes and other valuables belonging to NPP members in Gumbihini, Choggu and other surrounding communities in the Tamale metropolis which was the centre of the violence.