GITMO-2 to stay in Ghana longer than told – lawyer suggests

Claims by government that the two former detainees of Guantanamo Bay were to spend only two years in Ghana, have strongly been disputed. The two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, were in detention for 14 years, after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda and later transferred to Ghana under a bilateral agreement with the United State of America. A Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement in January 2016 announced, “At the request of the US Government we have also agreed to accept two detainees of Yemeni origin who were detained in Guantanamo but who have been cleared of any involvement in any terrorist activities and are being released. They are unable to return to Yemen at the moment and we have indicated our readiness to accept them for a period of two years after which they may leave the country.” The revelation virtually divided the country over concerns that the then government was opening up the country for possibly terrorists attack. Last year, two Ghanaians sued the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, together with the Minister of Interior, accusing former President John Mahama of illegally bringing in the two former Gitmo detainees, without recourse to the laws of the land. Their lawyer Nana Adjei Baffour Awuah has made further revelation today, suggesting that government lied when it said the two will only stay in Ghana for just two years. “It must have been put in public domain that the GITMO two are here for two years, I don’t want to comment on it, but it is not true,” he asserted. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs are seeking among other reliefs a “declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President of the Republic of Ghana acted unconstitutionally by agreeing to the transfer of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.” The case has been travelling for some months at the Supreme Court that was scheduled to give its ruling today, May 10. However, the court said certain issues need to be addressed before a final decision can be taken. Baffour Awuah explained to Midday News on 3FM 92.7 Wednesday that the court was interested in how the cancellation of the agreement to host the two will affect Ghana’s relationship with the United States of America. Since it is a “monumental” case, the Supreme Court directed the counsel to submit their arguments as to whether Ghana can even take a unilateral decision to leave the agreement. Parties have been given up to June 24 to deliver their written submissions to the court and appear in the court room on June 27 for the case to be heard . ________________________________________________

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Read also: Supreme Court ‘disappoints’ in GITMO-2 ruling ________________________________________________ By Isaac Essel || Ghana]]>