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Justice or Crime?

Ghana University students strip alleged female thief, insert fingers in her private part, make movie of it!

By African Outlook Reporter

The story of Amina Haruna Eunice elicits sympathy and emotions in Ghana. But for many students of the University of Ghana, the feeling is that of anger and repugnance against the media which brought her case to the national (now international) attention. Happy reading!



At the dawn of Thursday March 31, 2011, Amina Haruna was apprehended by some male students of the Mensah Sarbah Hall annex B of the University of Ghana for allegedly stealing a laptop and other electronic gadgets belonging to a female student of the hall.



Instead of handing her over to the University police, the students many of whom were males allegedly stripped her naked and physically abused her, filmed the molestation and distributed the videos.




In the video obtained by many Ghanaian news media, Amina could be seen weeping severely as she pleaded with the students to forgive her. But the men without mercy tore her clothes into pieces to expose her naked body.



They opened her legs wide and some of the guys could be seen inserting their fingers into her vagina. The students, after molesting her, handed her over to the police who started investigation of the incident.



According to media report, the Crimes Officer at the Legon Police command, ASP Basim, confirmed the incident and told reporter that the suspect had been on the police wanted list before her alleged crime.



 “She was apprehended and brought to Legon and handed over to the police for investigation so she is in custody" the officer said, noting that about two months prior to the incident, she committed a similar offense and was arrested and cautioned but because of her circumstance she was granted bail to report at the Court.



Unfortunately she failed, and the case was presented in her absence and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.



"We were looking for her when she committed this recent theft” the officer was quoted as saying.



 But the police officer seems to be in support of the notion hold by many Ghanaian human right activists “If you suspect anybody of committing any offense, your best is to apprehend the person and hand him or her over to the police, not to molest or beat the person up. That will mean taking the law into your own hands” the Crimes Officer lamented.



The lady at the center of the case, Amina has taken her case to the public court, threatening to commit suicide.



She told Joy News, a local media that she had been severely traumatized by the incident and could hardly see herself coming to terms with the disgrace and humiliation it had brought her, her family and friends.



“I feel like killing myself. It was my grandmother who has been counseling me, else I would have been dead by now." she was reported as saying



 Though she was on a police enquiry bail, she had vehemently denied the accusation.



“I am not a thief…I didn’t steal anything,” she said, explaining that she had been doing business on the university campus selling clothes to the students, most of whom buy her wares on credit.


Narrating what happened on that fateful day to Joy News, Amina said she had gone to the school for her money when a female student – who claimed to have lost a phone previously on a date Amina was there to do business – accosted and accused her of stealing the phone and before she could say jack, the male students had in the hostel swarmed on her and started molesting her.



Amina maintained that no stolen item was found on her and that her only crime was going to the hall after a student had lost a phone.



She said without giving her chance to explain herself, the guys at the all pounced on her, tore her dress, opened her legs and “one of the guys who was wearing shoe kicked me and my [private parts oozed] with blood”.



Recounting the effects of the ordeal on her, Amina said her fiancé, felt so ashamed that he broke up with her. “Who is going to marry me with this disgrace?” she asked, sobbing.



Meanwhile the committee set up by the University of Ghana to investigate the incident has submitted its report to the disciplinary committee of the University for action.


Photo: Amina says the assault has affected her emotion and wants to commit suicide. 





But the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has condemned the University of Ghana authorities for refusing to provide surety to bail the suspected students arrested for molesting Amina to enable them write their end of semester exams. 




Some students of the University of Ghana also accused the media for blowing the infamous Amina ‘fingering’ saga out of proportion.


The students were also angry with university authorities as well as the police for the timing of the investigation and prosecution of the alleged culprits.


Meanwhile the nine students alleged to have sexually molested a  Amina were later granted bail by a court in Accra to enable them write their exams.



But some of the university students are incensed saying the action would take a heavy psychological toll on the students and could affect their performance in the exams.



“The manner in which the justice system is being meted out to our colleagues is not really appropriate. Tomorrow exams commences and you keep students for three days and you release them a day before the exams. I think that at this point some psychological trauma has already been built up in all university of Ghana students,” the JCR President said in an interview.


 “When the thing happened a lot of people actually came in because it was a thief that was caught and there is no rule in Ghana which says when a thief is caught don’t go close,” another student of the hall said, adding, that there were other students from other halls who came to watch what was going and “yet the thing has been like its only us. There are other students from other halls. And then the media distort the whole thing,” she accused.


“I have been disappointed that the media has blown the issue out of proportion and even gone to the extent of disclosing some details that has got nothing to do with the case. I want the public to know that Amina is a thief and every thief is a liar because to the best of my knowledge eight of the students are innocent," another disappointed student told Joy news.



 But some human right activists in Ghana are not letting up, they see the action as criminal violation of Amina's right.



Executive Director of Ark Foundation (a care givers and advocacy group), Angela Dwamena Aboagye has called  for special attention to be given to Amina



Angela Dwamena Aboagye told Joy News Amina needs professional help at this critical time in her life.



She said the victim has shown clear signs of trauma and must be given help.



Even though she is all for the investigation and subsequent prosecution of culprits involved, she noted that mental and psychological health of the victim must first be taken into consideration.



The Registrar of the University Mr. J.M. Budu dismissed assertions that the university had delayed in taking punitive action against the perpetrators of the crime.



He said the fact finding committee has submitted its report to the Disciplinary Committee who in turn will begin disciplinary proceedings sooner than later.



Additional reports by