The Crime Check Foundation, a Prison NGO, has appealed to government to pardon one Raphael, an inmate of the Awutu Camp prison, who has been diagnosed with stroke to enable him access adequate medical care.
Raphael, believed to be in his twenties, is serving a three-year sentence for illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
Speaking to Mr Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, the Ambassador Extraordinaire of Ghana Prisons and Executive Director on “Time with the Prisoner Series”, the inmate said “I was in Accra and went to visit my grandmother at Kyebi in the Eastern region and that is how I was introduced to the galamsey business in 2007 by a friend and never came to Accra.”
He said he was only now a victim of two unfortunate events.
He said they were working at a galamsey site at Kyebi, when soldiers stormed the site to arrest some people amidst firing of gunshots so he went to hide in a nearby bush just for everything to be over but he got frightened due to the unceasing firing of shots.
“I then stood up and raised my hand, they saw me and arrested me but even when I explained I was not part of that group, they will not listen because they saw me with tools and told me those were galamsey tools and evident I was a galamseyer,” Raphael narrated.
The inmate said what seemed to be a dream became a reality when he found himself in court and was sentenced to serve a three-year jail term out of which he has served a year.
“I was stranded after the sentence because I had a child with my grandmother at Mankase. I was first taken to Koforidua prison, then to Awutu,” he added.
However, recounting the unfortunate predicament, which he described as a nightmare, his only hope was to recover from the stroke.
He said: “It all happened when he was going to take his bath. He felt dizzy and fell only to wake up to see himself in the hospital wet but could not raise his left hand. The doctors told him some veins had been damaged in his brain due to pressure.
“It is unbelievable because I have never felt there was something wrong with me,” he added.
Raphael said his only wish was to recover from the unfortunate sickness, even though his family have abandoned and left him to his fate.
“I know I have been disobedient because my uncle, the only one, who visited me about four months ago, warned me earlier not to go to the village and asked me to help my grandmother with her farm work but I went into galamsey instead. I am therefore not surprised I have been abandoned even though my uncle told me he was going to tell my grandmother about my situation,” he recounted.
The inmate has, however, appealed to the public, government and individuals to come to his rescue in whichever way possible to recover, since his medication has also run out.
Raphael, who has delay speech, said there was one colleague in prison, who used to support and help him but he has been discharged, so he now rely on people, who were willing to help me.
“As at now, my drugs, which I got with the help of our officer William Anaman is finished with no hope of where the next will come,” he added.