It has emerged that the controversial video recording which captured Bishop Daniel Obinim, Founder of the International God’s Way Church, flogging two teenagers over allegation of fornication, caused uproar at an International Human Rights Conference in the United States of America.
According to Irene Aborchie, the first prosecution witness in the assault case brought against Obinim, the video has questioned Ghana’s reputation as a country that prides itself in upholding human rights.
Bishop Obinim, who prefers to be called Angel Obinim, has been charged with unlawfully and physically abusing one Elliasu Obinim, 16, and Gyesiwaah Obinim, 14 – his adopted children – before his congregation for allegedly engaging in fornication.
Bishop Obinim is in the dock with his two other pastors – Kingsley Baah and Solomon Abraham – who had been charged for abetting their senior pastor to abuse the two victims.
Led in evidence by the prosecution, led by DSP George Amegah, Irene said her action was based on Article 6(1) of the Domestic Violence Act.
She said the Act empowers any person with information to file a complaint on domestic violence. The lawyer indicated that women, children and men are asked to remove their clothes while some of them are stamped and violently beaten in (churches) the name of God.
Tendering the video which was played in court on Friday and six snapshots of the scenes of the abuse, the witness said she was initially so traumatized that she could not watch Obinim violently abuse the victims amidst insults.
Irene said Obinim, tired of beating the victims with his leather belt, ordered Pastor Kingsley to continue. She said the girl, who could not bear the pain anymore, ran away but Obinim ordered his pastors to bring her back.
The witness said Obinim in total gave the victims about 40 strokes of the belt in the presence of the congregation.
The court, presided over by Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku, has adjourned hearing until March 10 for the defence lawyer to cross-examine the witness. The accused persons are currently on a GH¢10,000 bail each with one surety, one to be justified.
Earlier DSP Abraham Annor had said that the victims live with Bishop Obinim in his residence in Accra and that on the day of the incident, the Accra branch of the church had a service where the man of God claimed that he had a revelation from God and that the two teenagers were engaged in pre-marital sex, resulting in Gyesiwaah becoming pregnant.
The police officer stated that Obinim further indicated that he was directed by the Holy Spirit to chastise them in front of the general congregation and so subjected them to serious beatings with his black waist leather belt. The prosecution stated that Obinim was assisted by Kingsley and Solomon.
He argued that Kingsley held Gyesiwaah and prevented her from running away while the bishop continued beating her, adding that the girl in the process could not bear the pain and therefore sought refuge with the wife of Obinim, Mrs. Florence Obinim, but her husband ordered the wife to stay aside, which she did.
DSP Annor contended that Solomon then brought back Gyesiwaah for his master to continue beating her.