Some 104 deportees from the United States of America (US) refused to disembark the plane
that transported them from that country to Ghana due to what they described as inhumane treatment meted out to them by US authorities.
The deportees, made up of 54 Ghanaians and 50 Liberians, took the action to express their displeasure over their treatment.
They claimed the US officials were being hypocritical in their deportation as they were not treated with dignity while on board the plane en route to Accra.
Some of them who spoke to Class 91.3FM’s Atiewin Mbillah in Ghana, in an interview on Wednesday, November 2, said although their deportation was not the result of criminality, they were handcuffed and treated as criminals by the US authorities in the US state of Louisiana, and even while on board the plane.
According to them, when they reached the Kotoka International Airport, the authorities attempted to take off the handcuffs to create the impression that they were treated with respect, an act they thought was hypocritical.
One of the deportees said: “They (US authorities) handcuffed us; they handcuffed us before we
boarded the plane. That is why we say we are not getting down unless they allow us to get down with the handcuffs for everybody to see how they have been treating us. That is why we said ‘no, we are not getting down… They called some immigration officers (at the airport) to come and talk to us but we said no we want to come down with the handcuffs on and so they said we should come down.
“They handcuffed us in the United States. My waist, hands and my legs were all cuffed. Both legs [were cuffed], so you cannot even walk, you cannot eat, you cannot do anything.”
Another deportee narrated: “We have been in handcuffs from Monday to today; a lot of people here (Kotoka Airport) today saw it. If you think I am lying, you can ask the people around. If you want to urinate you struggle in the handcuff before passing urine.”
Another disgruntled deportee indicated: “We all left Ghana to America to go and better our future – so we passed through Brazil to Colombia and some of us even died on the way… Now the people handcuffed us, they only gave us bread and water from morning till evening, so when we came here (Kotoka) a lot of the people were fighting them that: ‘You cannot deport us empty-handed; we need money to go home [with].’”
Meanwhile, Ghanaian human rights lawyer Francis Xavie-Sosu said chaining the 104 deportees from the United States to Accra “like animals” is condemnable.
“You can’t treat human beings like animals. It is completely wrong and must be condemned in no uncertain terms,” Mr. Xavie-Sosu told Emefa Apawu on Ghana’s Class 91.3FM’s 505 news program on Wednesday.
“Clearly they were violated. People alleged to have infringed on immigration laws have a right to be heard in an immigration court and they have a right to be represented by a lawyer…They are brought back as regular people. The deportation order does not include chaining people and treating them like animals,” he said on a report on the Ghana Review International (GRi) website.
Liberian immigration officials confirmed the arrival of Liberians deported from the United States on Wednesday but could not indicate how many.
However, journalists at the airport who made efforts to identify and interview former People’s Redemption Council (PRC) Speaker Jeffery Gbatu were unsuccessful, even to speak with any member of his family.