2 August 2017

Ghana: Parliament Extends Stay of Gtimo 2

press release

Parliament has given approval to extend the stay of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees in the country to January 2018.

This follows the ratification of an agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America (USA) on the resettlement in Ghana of Two former ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees in the country in accordance with article 75 ( 2 ) of the 1992 constitution.

Mamud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammed Salih Aldhuby from Yemen were controversially brought to Ghana by the US government under the country's former leader, John Mahama in late 2015.

But the Supreme Court in a majority decision ruled that the circumstance under which the two were brought into the country was unconstitutional.

It subsequently ordered the government to send the agreement to Parliament for ratification within three months from the date of the order or send them back to the United States of America. The government, therefore, submitted the agreement to Parliament for ratification this week.

Chairman of the foreign affairs committee, Patrick Boamah, who moved the motion for the adoption of the report of the committee on the request for the rectification of the agreement, said "considering the fact that no findings have linked the detainees to any terror group and the importance of the agreement to the strengthening of the bond between the government of Ghana and the government of USA " the committee recommends an extension of their stay in the country.

He said the committee was informed that Government did not intend to amend or change any of the obligations accepted by the government of Ghana as contained in the note verbal ,but only seeks to ratify the agreement by the House to enable it conform with provisions of Article 75 (2) of the constitution as directed by the Supreme Court.

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in a contribution to the motion noted that it was illegal for the detainees to be brought to the country without parliamentary approval, hence, the court's decision.

He said government did not have the option to send the detainees back to the US than to respect the decision by the courts and do the right thing.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, on his part called on the Foreign Affairs Minister to submit every other memorandum or convention signed in the name of the republic to parliament for rectification.

He said Ghana is a friendly country to the US and an integral part of the Global Counter Terrorism strategy and therefore nobody should engage in any comment that would seek to jeopardize the strong bilateral relationship between Ghana and the US.

He said the previous government led by Former president John Mahama accepted the detainees on the basis of humanitarianism and to demonstrate compassion.

Members of the House who contributed to the debate noted that the detainees did not pose any security threat to the state and more over had not gone contrary to any laws in the country, hence, the extension of their stay.

Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)

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