General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Ghana’s Parliament has ratified an agreement to allow the two ex-GITMO detainees to stay in the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchway on Tuesday informed the House, her ministry and other stakeholders will work on an “exit plan” by the time their two-year stay in Ghana expires January 6, 2018.
She stressed that there will be “no further obligation” to keep the two – Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby – “unless the two governments agree otherwise and in accordance with due process.”
The ratification follows a Supreme Court order after it ruled that their stay in the West African country is unconstitutional without parliamentary backing.
Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby of Yemeni origin are among 17 detainees transferred from the prison camp in Cuba by the United States.
The decision to host the detainees in Ghana provoked a firestorm of controversy and outrage among Ghanaians, with many expressing fear that the move would undermine Ghana’s internal security and expose the country to attacks from religious extremists.
A seven-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo by six to one (6 -1) majority decision Thursday June 22, 2017 said the two are illegally in the country since the then government allowed them into the country without prior approval by Parliament.
The consequential order of the court is that government should within three months subject the agreement to parliamentary consideration and approval and in default return the two Gitmo detainees.
The order by the Apex court was necessitated by a suit brought against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Minister of Interior by two Ghanaian citizens—Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye last year.