Lawyers for the host of Montie FM’s ‘Pampaso’ political show, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, and two panelists, Alistair Nelson, and Godwin Ako Gunn, who were handed a four-month prison sentence say they will petition President John Dramani Mahama to invoke his prerogative power of mercy for the three, whose sentencing they consider harsh.
The three were sentenced on Wednesday by the Supreme Court, after they were found guilty of contempt charges brought against them.
This was after they had threatened on radio to kill the judges over their handling of the suit on the credibility of the voters’ register.
The lawyers for the three, George Loh and Nana Ato Dadzie in a statement, said although they admit comments made by their clients were “unacceptable”, they consider the sentence harsh and excessive.
“We do admit some of the statements uttered by some of our clients are unacceptable. We nevertheless consider custodial sentence of four months imposed by the Supreme Court as being excessive and harsh.”
“We also do not believe that citizens of Ghana ought to be committed to prison for infractions on free expression especially in light of the repeal of the criminal libel law. Our clients have directed us in circumstances to petition His Excellency the President of the Republic to exercise his powers of perogative of mercy under Article 72 of the Constitution of Ghana.”
The sentence has been met with mixed reactions from various stakeholders.While some believe it was a step in the right direction, others say the Judges were to harsh on the trio, and may be seeking to stifle freedom of speech.
NDC slams jailing of Montie 3, urges members to be calm
The incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC), has condemned the four-month jail-term given to the host of the ‘Pampaso’ show on Accra-based Montie FM, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, and the two panelists, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, after they were found guilty of contempt.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, and signed by the party’s Chairman, Kofi Portuphy, the party said it “has learned with utter shock, disbelief and dismay, the jailing of a journalist and two Ghanaian citizens by the Supreme Court of Ghana after contempt proceedings.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a statement released on Tuesday said the judgement “sends an unfortunate impression about Ghana, its judiciary and severely dents our enviable reputation as a beacon of democracy on the African continent and beyond.” It further stated that the “judgement also may undermine our position among countries with the freest media in the world.”
Judges were harsh on Montie FM trio – Hanna Tetteh
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh, has also described the verdict as harsh.