Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) Chairman Samia Nkrumah believes the court was lenient when it sentenced two soldiers a total of 30 years for their roles in the murder of Alhaji Issa Mobilla, the party’s former Northern Regional chairman.
Alhaji Mobilla was arrested and detained in connection with a gun-firing incident in the late hours of December 8th, 2004, at Werizehi, a suburb of Tamale in the Northern Region. He later died while in military detention.
Meanwhile, on Monday, February 18, 2013, an Accra Fast Track High Court found two soldiers guilty of causing the former party chairman’s death.
The two soldiers, Corporal Yaw Appiah and Private Seth Goka, were both found guilty of manslaughter by a seven-member jury. Private Goka, who is still on the run, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Corporal Appiah received a jail term of 10 years.
Ms Samia Nkrumah told Joy FM's Top Story that although justice had been delayed, she is happy that it finally came.
The soldiers were sentenced on the lesser charge of manslaughter because the jury believed they had simply acted on orders from above.
However, Ms Nkrumah was convinced that the soldiers intended to murder the CPP's former regional chairman by torturing him, arguing that it is “not their [military] culture to torture people”.
She continued, “even though we are happy, we believe the sentence is low, because the men who committed the crime acted in a premeditated way; you don’t torture somebody to death by an accident.”
She described Alhaji Mobilla as a philanthropist, a man of substance, and a businessman who contributed immensely to the development of the North.
“We are going to put our heads together [with the family] to see how to immortalize his name,” she said.
The superior officer who ordered his torture should be brought to book, she asserted.
Meanwhile, Thaddeus Sore, lawyer of Corporal Yaw Appiah, noted that evidence that the soldiers were ordered by their superior to torture Issa Mobilla was provided by the prosecution itself, “making it clear the convicts acted upon instruction.”
He said they were yet to reflect on the whole trial and the jurors' decision to advise themselves.
Though word of the conviction has yet to get to Alhaji Mobilla’s family in the Northern Region, his eldest son, who first heard the news from Multi TV’s Hashmin Mohammed, said he knew “justice will surely prevail” and thanked the president and government for facilitating the trial.