V/R: 21 persons arrested for promoting LGBTQI freed

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A high court in Ho has freed 21 persons arrested in connection with the promotion of LGBTQI activities.

The individuals made up of 16 women and five men between the ages of 20-35 who were arrested in May 2021 were acquitted and discharged based on lack of reasonable and sufficient evidence for prosecution.

They were arrested for organising an unlawful meeting to champion the LGBTQI movement in the Volta Region.

They were subsequently charged with unlawful assembly and were earlier granted bail by the Ho High Court 2, presided over by His Lordship, Justice Yaw Owoahene-Acheampong.

According to the organizers, the accused persons were persons living with HIV/AIDS, and they were being taught how to deal with legal procedures as persons living with HIV/AIDS.

The court held that the retrieval of the LGBTQI materials created reasonable suspicion and the arrest was made as criminal procedure allows persons to be arrested based on suspicion, but was not to suppress their rights.

The accused persons were subsequently discharged and dockets closed for lack of sufficient evidence for prosecution.

Meanwhile, an Anti-LGBTQI Bill has been laid before Parliament and referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The private Members Bill stands in the names of eight members of Parliament.

The proposed bill could see LGBTQ community members imprisoned between five to 10 years for identifying or advocating for their rights.

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