The autopsy results of the late Felix Kuma Azibodzi, a 29-year-old private security worker in Ho in the Agotime-Ziope District of the Volta Region who died in police custody, has proven to be an unnatural death.
The report authored on August 30, this year, by Dr Foster Gbagbo, a pathologist, who performed the autopsy and witnessed by a police pathologist and other actors showed haemothorax, fractured left rib with deflated contusion of the chest, which revealed a blunt force injury to the chest.
The report has offered respite to the Azibodzi family to apply for death certificate towards the burial of the deceased, who suffered police brutalities in custody, when he was arrested on suspicion of a car theft on August 9, which allegedly turned out to be false.
The family is hereby petitioning the authorities for a thorough independent investigation into the demise of their compatriot, who they believed was tortured and manhandled in police custody.
The family is hereby petitioning President Akufo-Addo, Ambrose Dery, the Minister of Interior, Dr George Akuffo Dampare, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Attorney-General to cause investigations into how the deceased died at the Regional Command in Ho.
The family spokesperson, Michael Azibodzi told the Ghana News Agency that, the deceased was allegedly arrested at the Ho main lorry station by the police in relation to a suspected car theft case on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.
He said the deceased’s arrest stemmed from a post of the said missing car on his social media handles, which the spokesperson alleged was shared by his work colleagues to aid arrest of the actual culprit, but this action was misunderstood.
Mr Azibodzi said on Friday, August 11, a team of policemen led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Andrew Boadu Ekumah, Volta Regional Police Commander, flanked by his Regional Crime Officer and others came to the family with the information of the death of the deceased after he complained of an ailment in custody.
The family was informed he died at the Ho Teaching Hospital, where he was sent for medical attention.
He said the sad news unsettled them but they went to the morgue on Monday, August 14, believing that the case should be one of misplaced identity.
But Mr Azibodzi who was accompanied by a lawyer to the morgue said the reality was the sordid state of the body they found.
The spokesperson added that the body portrayed a broken arm, punched eye, broken teeth, swollen face, and broken legs with visible wounds at the back with blood oozing from the mouth and nose.
He said these could only be a clear case of torture, use of excessive force and wickedness with an intention to kill.
He said the family had resisted attempts by the police to convey the deceased body to the Police Hospital in Accra for autopsy as the family preferred an alternative to avoid cover-ups.
“We the family of the deceased hereby appeal to the powers that be to assist the Azibodzi family to attain justice in this heinous, barbaric and calculated murder in cold blood by the Ho Police.”
Rev. Raymond Akpatsa, lawyer for the family said the modus used by the Police to elicit information from suspects is crude, barbaric and inhumane and wonders why in the 21st Century, the Police cannot reform.
Meanwhile, GNA investigation attests that the deceased was ‘Brought in Dead’ on August 10, and was certified dead by Dr Emmanuel Kasu, Director of Medical Services of the Ho Teaching Hospital.
Meanwhile, major actors including chiefs, queens, religious leaders and security-related NGOs have criticised police brutalities in the region, with the latest being the Gbi-Godenu and Gbi-Wegbe, leading to deaths and injuries in eight months.
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