Belgian National Repatriated by Ghanaian Government Alleges Violation of Rights Without Fair Hearing
Shalimar Abbuisi, a Belgian national and spokesperson for the recently established political group, The New Force, has been repatriated by the Ghanaian government over alleged violations of her rights without being given a fair hearing. The incident unfolded on December 19, 2023, when Ms. Abbuisi was forcibly returned to her native Belgium on Air Brussels Flight No. SN 319.
Ms. Abbuisi’s involvement in charity work and her passion for humanity led her to engage in various humanitarian initiatives. She had been working in the healthcare sector for several years. According to her account, her interaction with the Ghanaian government began when she discovered the New Force’s agenda, which centered around developing not only Ghana but the entire African continent. The initiative focuses on innovation, job creation, and empowering the youth.
Ms. Abbuisi had been traveling between Belgium and Ghana for many years, holding a valid residence permit obtained through an official immigration officer. Until this unfortunate incident, she had never faced any issues regarding her travel or residency status in Ghana. However, after the release of a New Force video, she received a call requesting her presence for questioning at immigration offices in Ghana.
Upon arrival at the immigration office, Ms. Abbuisi claimed that officials started interrogating her about her residence permit. The situation deteriorated when they presented her with unfamiliar documents, accusing her of forging them and raising questions about her permit’s validity. Confused and shocked by the sudden turn of events, she was coerced into spending an overnight stay at the immigration holding cell.
Recounting her experience, Ms. Abbuisi says, “Everything was illusional; they took all my belongings, and they were very brutal. I had to sleep in a cell at immigration overnight, sharing a mattress with other detainees from both genders. The sheer number of people, some of whom had been waiting for months without trial, was alarming.”
The following day, Ms. Abbuisi was transferred to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), where she was astounded to find documents labeling her a national emergency. This label puzzled her since the authorities’ initial concern appeared to be related to her residence permit. As she emphasized, resolving issues related to residence permits should typically occur promptly without resorting to imprisonment.
The situation further escalated when an inspector informed Ms. Abbuisi of her arrest, even though no official charges had been presented. She was denied access to her lawyer, and despite her protests, she was driven to her home without a search warrant. Eventually, legal representation arrived, asserting that a warrant was necessary before conducting a search. Consequently, Ms. Abbuisi was returned to the NIB, where she was subjected to an arduous strip search and placed in a windowless cell with squalid conditions.
Days later, when the search warrant finally arrived, the authorities conducted a disrespectful search of her property, disregarding the presence of an independent witness or her lawyer. The violation of her rights continued as Ms. Abbuisi was denied access to phone calls and faced tremendous difficulty in communicating with her legal counsel. Despite persistent efforts from her lawyer to ensure her fair treatment, authorities set bail conditions that were deemed excessively stringent for an alleged violation of a residence permit.
Following extended bail hearings, the court dropped all charges against Ms. Abbuisi due to a lack of evidence to support the alleged crimes. She was informed of her release only to find herself immediately rearrested by 15 immigration officers who claimed they had revoked her residence permit.
During the subsequent confrontation, Ms. Abbuisi’s lawyer was physically assaulted, and she was denied her belongings, including her phone, which was never returned to her. The lack of a warrant for the permit revocation and the absence of evidence against her further highlighted the grave violations of her human rights.
Ms. Abbuisi’s lawyer promptly filed an injunction in court to fight the unlawful order for deportation. However, the immigration officials proceeded to ignore the judicial process and forcefully deported her on the same evening. She was given no opportunity to collect her personal items or inform her loved ones of her imminent departure.
These series of events have raised serious concerns about the state of democracy and the rule of law in Ghana, as one person’s decision, in this case, the president, seemingly overrode the legal system. Ms. Abbuisi’s story is a stark reminder of the importance of upholding human rights and ensuring fair and just processes in every corner of our world.