Two concerned Ghanaians have dragged the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior to the Supreme Court over the two ex-Guantanamo Bay inmates currently cooling off in Ghana.
The plaintiffs, Margret Banful and one Henry Nana Boakye, want the Supreme Court to declare that the harbouring of the two detainees in the country by President John Mahama is far in excess of his powers under the 1992 Constitution, therefore making it unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs are praying the court for an order directed at the Minister of the Interior for the immediate removal and return of the two suspected Al-Qaeda foot soldiers from Ghana to the United States.
It may be recalled that the Mahama administration, early January, announced that Ghana would for the next two years host the suspected terrorists who were previously being held at the Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by the United States, stating that they are ‘low risk’ former detainees.
It has been stated that Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef, 36, and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, 34, are being offered humanitarian assistance in Ghana under a deal signed by the Mahama administration and the US authorities.
It has turned out that the two detainees are hardcore terrorists whom the US is looking for a place to dump.
According to a US security report, Mohammed Bin Atef was “a fighter in Osama Bin Laden’s former 55th Arab Brigade and he is an admitted member of the Taliban.
It said he trained at al-Farouq, the infamous Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, “participated in hostilities against US and Coalition forces, and continues to demonstrate his support of Osama Bin Laden and extremism.”
However, the decision which has already sparked a huge controversy in the country has compelled the two to seek judicial interpretation of the action of President Mahama.
The suit filed by De Medeiros & Associates, lawyers for the plaintiffs, is asking the court for a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 75 of the Constitution, the president by agreeing to host the two in the country required the ratification by an Act of Parliament or a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all the members of the House.
The plaintiffs further want the Supreme Court to state that the president, per the same Article of the Constitution and his failure to obtain the necessary ratification, acted unconstitutionally.
The lawyers further stated that “on a true and proper interpretation of Article 58 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, the president is under an obligation to execute and maintain the anti-terrorism Act of 2008 (Act 762) and the Immigration Act of 2000 (Act 573).”
The plaintiffs, aside cost for court expenses and counsel fees, also want the court to declare that on a true and proper interpretation of Chapter 5 of the Constitution, the president, by holding the two detainees under restricted conditions without a court order, is breaching their fundamental human rights.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson