General News of Wednesday, 25 January 2017
The two former detainees from Guantanamo Bay currently being hosted in Ghana, may continue to stay in the country until the two-year contract signed between the government of Ghana and the US expires.
The two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef, and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby who were in detention for 14 years after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda, were brought to Ghana in 2016, to be reintegrated back into their home countries.
The decision by the Mahama-led administration was met with massive public uproar, as many describing it as a threat to national security.
Several members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) kicked against the decision.
However, speaking to Citi News’ Umaru Sanda Amadu after taking her turn at the Appointments Committee of Parliament, the Minister nominee for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, failed to disclose whether or not the NPP government will review the agreement.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said “they are one year into the agreement, so we have another year to go before the agreement that was signed comes to an end.”
When she probed further, Ayorkor Botchwey said, “I don’t know [whether it will be reviewed or not], this is sub-judice so I don’t think that I want to make any comment on it.”
“But I’m just saying that we are one year into the agreement, the agreement is for two years, when we come to that bridge we will cross it. It is an agreement, the agreement has already been done,” the Minister nominee added.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey appeared before the Appointments Committee on Monday where she was vetted.
However the Defence Minister-nominee, Dominic Nitiwul, has said the NPP administration will take a decision on the two men.
No security threat
The US Embassy in Ghana had in January 2016, assured Ghanaians that the presence of the two former detainees, posed no threat to the security of the country.
Some two Ghanaians subsequently sued government over the decision.
The two Ghanaians, Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, accused former President John Mahama of illegally bringing in the two former Gitmo detainees, without recourse to the laws of the land.
The plaintiffs sought 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 Supreme Court in 2016 ordered the government of Ghana to release its agreement with the United States government regarding the acceptance of two Guantanamo Bay detainees into the country.