Guantanamo ex-convicts should have been rejected – Analyst

International Relations Analyst and lecturer at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, Vladimir Antwi-Danso, has condemned government’s decision to accept to resettle Yemeni ex-convicts from Guantanamo Bay prison and other distressed persons from Syria and Rwanda.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Tetteh, revealed to Citi News, government had accepted a request from the US government to resettle two ex-convicts from Guantanamo Bay prison.

She also explained that on humanitarian grounds, Ghana is allowing an unspecified number of Syrian refugees and two others from Rwanda.

According to Vladimir Antwi-Danso, he disagreed with the decision to resettle these two “hardened” ex-convicts saying it was unwise and could have negative security implications.

He said, “In all other considerations; political considerations, security considerations and economic considerations, I don’t think that I will subscribe to anything that will say that we should have gone in for that [the resettlement].”

Dr Antwi Danso fears the presence of these two ex-convicts from Guantanamo Bay prison could open a window to terrorist activity Ghana is not equipped to deal with.

“Al Qaeda and the ISIS and what not are institutions… We don’t have the wherewithal to monitor all these in Ghana. If these people [terrorist groups] choose to be active in Ghana, I don’t know how effective we shall be.”

He questioned the plans for the two ex-convicts from Guantanamo Bay prison after the two year resettlement agreement.

“If after the two years they decide not to leave Ghana, we can’t force them out and once they get into the society, the social integration, when they get acquaintances within the society, what happens?”

Vladimir Antwi-Danso further stated Ghana could have decided not to resettle these persons without breaching any international conventions adding other sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria and South Africa had done same.

“We are not obliged to acquiesce to a request by any bigger power. After all, we are all equal when international relations are concerned. If Ghana had said no, nobody was going to punish us,” he said.

The US government yesterday [January 6] released a statement assuring they had clarified and addressed all security lapses before transferring two Yemeni ex-convicts from the Guantanamo Bay prison to Ghana, nearly six years after their transfer approval.

The two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby had been in detention for 14 years, after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

A US multi-agency review undertaken at the start of the President Obama administration decided both men posed minimal risk to national security and ought to be transferred.

The statement also expressed gratitude to the Government of Ghana for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility

By Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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