About 25 remand prisoners on Wednesday had their freedom of movement restored to them when they were discharged by a special court created under the Access to Justice for Remand Prisoners.

Sixty prisoners share a 25 sq m cell and are locked in for 16 hours at a stretch with a single bucket for a toilet. There are no beds or mattresses, and scabies and other infectious diseases are rife. The prison was built to accommodate around 300 inmates, but now holds more than 1,100, including many juveniles Photograph: Fernando Moleres/ Panos Pictures / 2012 Tim Hetherington Grant

Out of the 39 cases that were heard by Justices Hannah Taylor, Constant Hometowu and John Ajet Nassah, High Court judges, 16 were bailed to reappear and four were refused bail because their warrants had not expired.

The cases heard were those of murder, stealing, defilement and narcotics. Some of the freed prisoners cried to express their appreciation.

The freed prisoners had spent between one and eleven years in the Sekondi prisons.

Mr Justice Clemence Honyenuga who has oversight responsibility for Criminal Justice and Remand Prisoners Project said the access to justice projects sought to stop overcrowding in prisons as well as reduce the number of prisoners on remand throughout the country.

He said the Chief Justice was considering setting up Remand Court to deal with remand cases at Nsawam.

The access to justice projects since has heard 1980 cases, discharged 476, bailed 477 and convicted 41 since its introduction in 2007.

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