Members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) have rallied to the support of a teacher who was reportedly subjected to torture at his home and at a police station by some policemen.
The law enforcement officers, said to be armed and six to seven in number, allegedly assaulted Henry Ayeng at his official residence on the campus of St. Bernadette’s Technical Institute, handcuffed him and dragged him away to their station on Sunday, 14 May 2023.
A riot had taken place the previous day at the school, situated in Navrongo, a town in Ghana’s Upper East Region. The unrest, prompted by students’ disagreement against some policies set down by the school’s authorities, left a commander and two police officers injured at the scene.
Ayeng told Media Without Borders he was beaten and handcuffed in front of his children and told he was being arrested for “harbouring criminals”.
The only people found at his residence when the policemen arrived around 6:00 am were three schoolboys who had stayed the night with Ayeng’s family after the riot was quelled with tear gas.
The three boys were also beaten by the police officers, according to eyewitnesses, and taken away in handcuffs with the Health teacher to the District Police Command in Navrongo.
“At the police station, they made me to remove all my things, left with boxer [shorts] alone. And they started the beating. They were three. And I fell. Then, one of them used his boots to step on my chest. I thought one of my ribs got broken.
“They beat the students at the police station, too. One of the students fainted while they were beating him. When he lost consciousness, they poured water on him. They didn’t allow anybody to see me while I was in their cells. Some of the police officers were not happy with the way their colleagues tortured me and the students,” the teacher told Media Without Borders, adding that he could identify one of the officers involved in the alleged abuse.
Reacting to the alleged torture, members of the GNAT body, which Ayeng joined in 2006, are demanding justice and intervention by an independent party in relation to the reported abuse.
“We are by this letter appealing to your good office to demand justice for our colleague who was brutalised on the 14th May 2023 by the police while carrying out an official assignment, and also facilitate for a legal representation at the court.
“We are also appealing that you facilitate for these two teachers to go through thorough counselling by a professional as they have admitted to be seriously traumatised by these developments, and currently are not in the right frame of mind,” the members requested in a letter written to a regional GNAT executive body.
The statement added: “We are also committed to assist and cooperate with any relevant independent body instituted to bring finality to this impasse, and help achieve the President’s agenda on the Free Senior High School Education policy.”
Read below a copy of the GNAT letter:
Also watch below a video of the teacher and some students narrating how they were tortured:
Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org/Ghana