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Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Teacher wrongfully jailed 13 years says prison is a bad place; even animals won’t like it

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The basic school teacher who served 13 years imprisonment for a crime of defilement he didn’t commit, has been recounting his experience on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.

Eric Asante was released in 2017 and had always maintained his innocence. He said the experience in prison is one no human being deserves to endure.

Detailing life in prison on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday, he said “It is a bad place. Even animals will not feel comfortable if they are kept there.

“Your sleeping place is bad and the food is bad,” he added.

Mr Asante says had he committed the crime he was accused of, the psychological trauma he went through would not have been as bad.

“If you have not committed the crime and you are out there, the trauma is stronger,” he said.

He said the worst side of life is a life in prison and no one should spend a moment there, especially if they have done nothing wrong.

Mr Asante was released in 2017 after a DNA test ordered by the Supreme Court prove he is not the father of the child alleged to be the product of his crime. He was imprisoned in September 2003.

Following the development, he applied to the Court for a GHS7 million compensation for the wrongful incarceration.

However, in its ruling last week, the Supreme Court ordered the state to pay him GHS45,000.

The Court said Mr Asante could not prove his claim of mental damages, psychological and mental trauma and investment losses, a reason his application was denied.

But Mr Asante said the court’s decision makes him sad. In an interview after the verdict, his lawyer told Joy News’ Joseph Ackah-Blay that he was disappointed.

“For the State to completely destroy a young person’s life for over 13 years and get away with only GHS45,000 is not enough, it is the actors of the State who were involved in the unlawful conviction of our client who has won today.

“…they managed and succeeded in putting him in and curtailed his life completely, his freedom to move around for 13 years and yet they were not punished for it,” he lamented.

Mr Asante reiterated same sentiments in a response to how he felt about the compensation. He said he feels unfairly treated and traumatized by the turn of events.

“I feel even more traumatised than the day I was thrown into prison,” he said, adding that since the Supreme Court’s verdict last week, “I keep asking myself if it was important for me to go to the Supreme Court to ask for compensation.”

He said the damage caused to his person and his life, the time and money wasted following the unjust imprisonment compared to the compensation he has been awarded is simply unreasonable.

Although he has been reinstated by the Ghana Education Service (GES) as directed by the Supreme Court, he says even that is not enough.

A letter to him from the GES, confirming his reinstatement, puts him back in the rank he was at 13 years ago when the incident occurred – the lowest rank.

“The letter said I am to start from the lowest rank, where I was before I was imprisoned,” he lamented.

He continued “They [GES] made me understand that GES did not cause my wrongful imprisonment and so if even I will be reinstated, I would not have the opportunity to be placed at the rank I would have been if I had not gone into prison.”

This for Mr Asante is most unfortunate since as a public worker his rank determines his salary and being placed in the lowest rank means less salary.

Mr Asante sees this development as most unfortunate, “I don’t even know what to do,” he said.

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