Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ghanaian Jailed in Cuba for Human Trafficking

Ghanaians living in Cuba have appealed to the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to intervene in the illegal sentencing of a Ghanaian pharmacist, who was wrongly charged with human trafficking. Making the appeal through The Chronicle, the Ghanaian community in Cuba called on the appropriate Ghanaian authorities to immediately cause their own investigation into the imprisonment of the victim, Mr. Lawrence Zogli Goka, in Havana, Cuba. Spokesperson for the Ghanaians living in Cuba, Robert Fakye, said Lawrence Zogli is a Ghanaian citizen who resides in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and a registered Pharmacist, and a key member of the Ghanaian community in the Caribbean Island. He is also a father of two.

On October 25th, 2005, Lawrence arrived in Havana to visit his Cuban girlfriend, Angela, and their newly born baby girl, Laura, in Villa Clara, a province in Cuba. He also intended to obtain a copy of his academic transcript from his former school in Cuba, the University of Camaguey, to pursue his PhD in Pharmacy. While waiting for his rented car at the airport to pick him up, he was approached by a Bahamian friend who asked him to help transport a Chinese citizen from Havana to Camaguey, since he (Lawrence) was also going there. Mr. Fakye stated that on November 1, 2005, Angela was informed by the Cuban State Police that her boyfriend, Lawrence, had been detained in Camaguey for his alleged involvement in human trafficking.

He was detained for two weeks during which he was interrogated for the alleged crime, but he insisted on his innocence. He was later transferred to Havana, where he was remanded until he made court appearance in January, last year. According to the group, the Ghana Embassy in Cuba was notified about his incarceration. Subsequently, a Cuban state lawyer, named Malvis Avila Rodriguez, was contracted by them to help defend the case. However, during the legal proceedings the lawyer failed in her attempt to obtain bail or release for the accused. In January 2007, Mr. Zogli was tried in Camaguey and sentenced to nine years in prison. Since then multiple appeals have been filed but to no avail.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

No comments: