21 people were arrested in Ghana for "advocating LGBT+ activities" and "unlawful assembly". We are calling on the police forces to immediately release the 21, and to drop any charges made against them.
At least 21 people were arrested by local police on May 20 after police invaded a hotel where a workshop for LGBT+ persons was ongoing.
The media stormed the meeting location, started taking pictures, later called the police to come and arrest them. The police took the participants' belongings and arrested them. The police later declared the detained were arrested for "advocating LGBT+ activities."
A court in the Ho district on Friday ordered the 21 accused, who were charged with "unlawful assembly" to be kept in police custody until their reappearance in court on June 4.
The arrests were illegal – there is no law preventing advocates or LGBT+ people from gathering. It is a constitutional right.
Those detained had no access to legal representation before they were brought to the court. Some of them suffer medical illnesses and need treatment for trauma.
We demand the police forces to immediately release the 21, and to drop any charges made against them.
We also call on the authorities of Ghana to address the sharp increase in the targeting and abuse of LGBT+ people in Ghana, and to issue orders to all police to immediately stop arbitrarily arresting people based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender nonconformity, or alleged consensual same-sex conduct.