A Court in Ghana has dismissed a case brought against 21 LGBTQ+ rights activists arrested for attending a meeting in the country’s Volta regional town of Ho.
The 16 women and 5 men were attending a paralegal training at a hotel when they were arrested on May 20, 2021 for “unlawful assembly”.
That paralegal training session was being put together by Rightify Ghana, a human rights organization.
The participants were meeting on how to document and report human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
According to the police the arrest was on the grounds that the training session was promoting homosexuality and that the gathering was an unlawful assembly.
The police subsequently detained them for 22 days and the courts also denied multiple bail requests there after.
The court however dismissed the case brought against the activists on Thursday August 5, 2021.
Update on #ReleaseThe21
Ho Circuit Court on Thursday 5th August 2021, dismissed the case against the 21 participants in the paralegal training, who were arrested on May 20 for “unlawful assembly” and detained for 22 days by the police, after multiple bail denial. pic.twitter.com/HvMpeBC1np
— LGBT+ Rights Ghana (@LGBTRightsGhana) August 6, 2021
A police prosecutor told the court that the state unable to continue with the prosecution due to insufficient evidence.
“The court has today struck out the case based on the advice received, and the 21 have been acquitted and discharged. It means that the case is over and they are free,” Chief Superintendent Akolgo Yakubu Ayamga said.
The lawyer for the accused, Julia Selman Ayetey who confirmed the ruling said “We welcome the decision and that has always been our argument from the beginning of this case.”
She explained that “It has been a rough journey since May but thankfully the law has spoken.”
The arrest and detention of the activists sparked protests outside the Ghana Embassy in the United States of America with calls for Ghana to drop charges against the LGBTQ+ activists.