8:51, 23.Aug 2016
Legal practitioner Maurice Ampaw has declared a one-week hunger strike in protest against the freeing of the Montie Three by President John Mahama.
Mr Ampaw told Moro Awudu on Inside Politics on Monday 22 August that he would also stay away from the law courts for a year as part of his protest.
Mr Ampaw said Mr Mahama had proven to be a president for just the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) by his action.
As far as his hunger strike was concerned, Mr Ampaw said he would start on Tuesday 23 August. He said he would go 24 hours each day without food and water to register his anger at the president's decision to pardon the three.
The president on Monday August 22, 2016, freed the three men.
A statement signed by Communications Minister Dr Edward Omane Boamah said: “The President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, has, in consultation with the Council of State and in exercise of his constitutional powers under Article 72 of the Constitution, remitted the remainder of the prison sentence imposed on three persons: Salifu Maase (alias Mugabe), Alistair Nelson and Ako Gunn, who were sentenced to four months' imprisonment and a fine of GHS10,000.00 each for contempt of court. The remission is effective 26th August, 2016.
“The three were sentenced on 27th July, 2016 and have served part of the prison sentences imposed on them. They have also paid the GHS 10,000.00 (ten thousand cedis) fines. The decision of His Excellency the President to remit their sentences on compassionate grounds follows a petition submitted to him by the contemnors appealing to the president to exercise his prerogative of mercy even as they continue to express deep remorse and regret for the unacceptable statements they made against the judiciary.
“His Excellency President Mahama takes this opportunity to remind all Ghanaians of the need to respect the institutions of state and exercise freedom of speech responsibly mindful of the need to preserve peace and national unity. The president reminds all concerned especially persons working in the media or appearing on its platforms to be circumspect and guard against the use of intemperate language which has the potential of causing unnecessary tension especially in this election year.
“The President is hopeful that all will draw lessons from the events leading to the conviction of the three persons and bear in mind the consequences of injudicious utterances.”
On Wednesday July 27, the Supreme Court of Ghana handed the jail term to the three convicts. Apart from the jail sentence, each of them was also fined a sum of GHS 10,000. The owners of the station, including Mr Harry Zakkour, who is also the second vice-chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress, as well as Mr Edward Addo, Ato Ahwoi, and Kwesi Kyei Atuah, were also fined GHS 30,000 each. The owners were also asked by the Supreme Court to submit policy documents spelling out how to forestall similar happenings in the future. They were also asked to ensure that none of their media outlets will be used to scandalise the court or bring it into disrepute.
Moments after they were sentenced, party members and ministers including Hanna Tetteh, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and Dr Edward Omane Boamah described the sentence as harsh. The party itself also expressed similar sentiment. The lawyers for the contemnors, George Loh and Nana Ato Dadzie, amidst the heavy condemnation of the SC judgement by the NDC supporters, also petitioned the president to invoke Article 72 of the constitution to grant the convicts pardon. A group also known as Research and Advocacy Platform also collected signatures to pile pressure on President Mahama to free the three.