The New Force, known for its viral ‘faceless masked’ billboard says the arrest of their spokesperson by the Ghana Immigration Service is “unlawful”.
The Service has apprehended a 30-year-old Belgian woman, Shalimar Abbiusi, who gained attention through her involvement in a viral short video introducing a new political group known as "The New Force."
Abbiusi was taken into custody during an inquiry into her immigration status in the country.
Read below the full statement from The New Force
UNLAWFUL DETENTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OF MS. SHALIMAR ABBIUSI, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE NEW FORCE IN GHANA.
The New Force expresses deep concern over the recent events surrounding the arrest and detention of Ms. Shalimar Abbiusi, one of the spokespersons for The New Force.
Ms. Abbiusi, who is the spokesperson for the New Force’s diaspora and diplomatic engagements, was called in for a discussion on Monday, 4th December 2023 and never released thereafter. As we have now found out, for the past 4 days, Ms Abbiusi has been kept continuously in custody by the officers of the National Investigations Bureau, formerly the BNI. During these 4 days, the security officials have continuously questioned Ms Abbiusi about the New Force; wanting to know which people are behind it and if the people want to run for President.
Further, over this period, she has been denied access to legal representation, subjected to an unlawful search of her premises, and held beyond the legal 48-hour limit without formal charges. Further, despite the objections of Ms Abbiusi’s lawyers, her apartment was broken into without a warrant and the place ransacked. Yet not a single element of incriminating evidence was found against her.
While the authorities claim to be investigating the origin of The New Force, it is essential to emphasize that having a political organization is not a criminal offense. As such the arbitrary detention of Ms. Abbiusi raises serious concerns about the abuse of power, persecution of perceived political opponents and several human rights violations.
Despite the fact that Ms Abbiussi’s residence permit was facilitated and issued to her over three years ago by the Ghana Immigration Service, the authorities today told a District Court that they have temporarily charged her with an offence claiming that one of the documents she submitted could not be verified. But that they are demanding that she is held in custody so that investigations into the New Force will continue.
We have witnessed rising attacks against the New Force including the taking down and targeted destruction of several billboards of the New Force. We consider that these actions reflect the approach of cowards and persons who have lost the moral plot of leadership.
Ms Abbiusi’s arrest clearly marks an attempt by the Government to abuse our laws and its power in order to persecute political opponents. We deplore the attempts to use Ms Abbiusi’s immigration status to blackmail her. We consider that no person should be discriminated against on account of their political opinions or country of origin, as guaranteed by our Constitution. These actions are morally and legally wrong and undermine faith in our democracy as well as the independence and fairness of our political institutions.
Is this really the Ghana we want? A Ghana where the abuse of power to intimidate and blackmail perceived political opponents and nationals of our partners? How much lower can we sink as a people? Ghana is losing its pride and its identity. We need a new direction; a new vision; and a New Ghana we can be proud of.
We encourage Ghanaians to be vigilant and engaged in preserving the integrity of our democracy. We ask you to demand for a different kind of politics. That is the promise of the New Force. The international community is closely monitoring these developments, emphasizing the need for a swift and just resolution.
Signed : #TheNewForce