Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

John Kugblenu and Mike Adjei Freed

Mr John Kugblenu, editor of the Free Press and Mr Mike Adjei, a columnist of the paper have been released by the PNDC after spending over one year in jail without charges.

Their release last week was under circumstances as bizarre as their arrests with that of the managing editor of the paper, Mr Tommy Thompson and others soon after a reported coup attempt against the regime of the PNDC, in June 1983.

About a month ago, the Attorney- General of Ghana Mr G.E.K. Ailans made a widely reported statement that there were no longer any political prisoners in Ghana. Soon after, the Christian Messenger and then the Catholic Standard published the fact that the two of them were still being detained. An Accra legal practitioner, Mr Ray Kakrabah-Quarshie filed a writ of Habeas Corpus at an Accra High Court asking for the release of the two. At the hearing, the Attorney- General asked for an adjournment until 20 July to enable him to study the writ.

While the case was still pending the two men were taken from the Nsawam Security Prison to Burma Camp where they spent another week in guard rooms before suddenly being released to go to their homes. Reports from Accra indicate that the two are in reasonable health considering their one year ordeal but those who have seen Mike Adjei say that he is half his normal size.

The PNDC has never given any reasons for their detention but the Free Press had been publishing many critical articles about the regime and soon after their arrests, 'workers' stormed the premises of the Free Press and took over the privately owned press.

Mr Tommy Thompson had been released earlier on humanitarian grounds on account of his ill health. In spite of the Attorney-General's categorical statement, there are known to be 12 political prisoners still being held at Nsawam and 20 others at Ussher Fort prisons.

See also: Uncle Mike

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