Six Western Togoland Group Members Sentenced to 26 Years in Hard Labour

An Accra High Court has handed down a verdict sentencing six members of the Western Togoland group to 26 years in hard labour. The convicts were found guilty of various charges related to their involvement in the banned separatist group.

During the proceedings, lead counsel for the convicts, Chris Akume, pleaded for leniency on behalf of his clients. He argued that they were first-time offenders who had joined platforms to seek knowledge about their history and cultural heritage. Akume emphasized that there was no intention to commit any criminal act and requested a reduction in the custodial sentence due to the time already spent in custody.

However, the prosecution urged the court to impose a stringent sentence, highlighting the national security implications and the lack of remorse displayed by the convicts throughout the trial.

The six individuals, namely Kennedy Awunyo, Kwame Tornyevidzi (also known as Abizibey), Raymond Yao Blu (also known as Captain), Edem Nukornu (also known as FBI Commander), Jerry Kpeglo, and Sylvanus Seshie, were each sentenced to four years of hard labour. The terms are expected to run concurrently.

Additionally, Raymond Yao Blu, the third accused, received an additional six-year sentence for a charge of stealing. This charge is in violation of section 124(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960(Act 29).

Presiding Judge Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh stressed the need for a deterrent sentence, considering the gravity of the offenses committed.

According to the case facts, the National Security Council conducted an operation to apprehend members of the Western Togoland Restoration Front, a splinter group of the Homeland Study Group Foundation. The group had engaged in activities aimed at secession from the Republic of Ghana. These activities included blocking roads, setting fire to vehicles, and attacking police stations to free inmates and seize weapons.

Investigations led to the arrest of the accused persons, who admitted their membership and active involvement in the organization’s activities. The first accused, Kennedy Awunyo, was found in possession of Western Togoland flags and stickers. He also managed the financial affairs of the organization. The second accused, Kwame Tornyevidzi, stole an AK47 rifle during one of the raids. The third accused, Raymond Yao Blu, participated in guerrilla military training and possessed a Western Togoland membership card and an army guerrilla training certificate.

The court recognized the potential threat posed by the accused and their associates, as their activities could have disrupted the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the Volta and Oti Regions.

With the conclusion of the trial, the accused persons will serve their respective sentences, marking a decisive step in addressing the activities of the Western Togoland group.

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