IT APPEARS Dr Ali Gabass, once a medical doctor of the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in the Western Region who was jailed 25 years for sodomising a 16-year-old senior high school boy would receive amnesty or presidential pardon.
Dr Gabass has since his incarceration in 2015 been imparting knowledge to his fellow inmates at the Nsawam Prisons, a development, among other requirements, that is bringing him closer to attracting pardon.
The Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS), Superintendent Vitalis A-Iyeh, has told the DAILY HERITAGE in an interview that if the board is satisfied with his conduct and behaviour towards fellow prisoners, he stands a greater chance of being recommended for amnesty or pardon.
“Dr Ali Gabass has a science background and what does is he teaches, but how do we motivate them? Some might not need motivation, but there are some prisoners who are really doing very well,” the prisons service PRO said..
According to Superintendent A-Iyeh,, Dr Gabass’ “teaching periods depend on the timetable of the school and teaching science, for instance biology, chemistry and the rest, means that every day he is supposed to be in class. We have a school teacher, headmaster and other teachers within the Nsawam Prisons.”
One-third remission system
Touching on how Dr Gabass could earn pardon, the prisons officer said he would have serve one-third of that period, but was quick to assert that not all prisoners qualify to enjoy such treat.
“Dr Gabass’ 25 years would be divided by three and he will serve one-third of it. For instance, if you are sentenced to three years you are going to do one year, but that is based on what is called study industry and hard work.
“However, if you are misbehaving that thing can be taken from you. In fact, it is not automatic, that is why the prisons have laws, and it is not everybody that gets one-third. If you are sentenced to life in prisons, you don’t enjoy it.”
Asked if Dr Gabass’ sentence could be reduce for his voluntary teaching services at the prisons, Superintendent A-Iyeh said, “It doesn’t reduce his sentence, but he can only benefit from amnesty which depends on how really hard he works and how people see him as a reform.
“And people make mistakes, amnesty is not just given by the prison service authorities; it is a board that comes together, that is, people outside the prisons.
“The police are involved, the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) is involved, Director of Mental Health Service is involved and the District Director where the prison is situated. All these together constitute a board of amnesty.”
Who qualifies to be pardoned?
Supt A-Iyeh told the paper that, “there are times that you need to consider the age of some people. That is where the medical doctor comes in, and the police CID and the prisons who are on the board. We can recommend that this man, based on what he is doing, is reformed, but they can disagree and say because of this and that you shouldn’t be considered.
“It also comes with conditions when they will tell you that it’s for only first time offenders. For example, if you are a first offender but you robbed, you are out. First offender and you rape, you are out, first offender and you use offensive weapon of any sort, you are out,” the chief PRO stated.
“But, first offender who just commit petty thievery, maybe defrauding by false pretence, those kinds of things, you are the one who qualifies but even with that too, they still look at you. What is your behaviour in prison? If you are the one that is not conforming to the rules in prisons, you are rowdy, causing problems among prisoners, among officers all the time, you don’t qualify. All of that counts.”
On Presidential pardon, he explained that, “we don’t have a hand in that; it is solely the President, with advice from the Council of State, who would ask us for the names. Sometimes cases that have gone on appeal, when they appear in court, then they will ask us if we have such persons, what their offences are and the like. The President can pardon anybody at anytime and you don’t question that.”