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General News of Thursday, 25 January 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

GITMO 2: 'It's pure nonsense’ - Ayine counters government’s 'no exit agreement' excuse

A former Deputy Attorney General, Dominic Ayine, says claims by the government that it is unable to repatriate the two Guantanamo Bay detainees because of a binding agreement between the previous government and the US is false.

The current government says although a January 2018 deadline for the return of Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby and Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef has passed, its hands are tied by a refugee status granted the two former terror suspects.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Wiredu, told Joy News on Thursday that the Ministry was surprised to discover that the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime secretly granted the refugee status to the two Yemeni nationals.

However, according to Dr Ayine, the excuse by the Foreign Affairs Ministry is untenable.

He describes the excuse by the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration as "pure nonsense".

“They are not telling you the entire truth,” Dr Ayine said on Accra-based 3FM, adding “they are playing politics with the agreement.”

He said the agreement with the US government stated that upon the expiration of the two-year agreement, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby will be sent back to Yemen.

He also told Joy News that the two terror suspects who were transferred to Ghana in 2016 were granted refugee status secretly because of national security reasons.

“There were some national security elements to it and secondly because of the national security implications there was the need to attach some confidentiality to matters pertaining to the agreement,” he told Joy News.

Controversial duo

The two Yemenis were resettled in Ghana in January 2016 following an agreement between the John Mahama government and the Barack Obama led-U.S. administration amid fierce resistance by the then-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Yemenis had been detained at the Guantanamo Bay for 14 years after they were linked to the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda and were released as part of US government's plan to shut down the facility.

No threat

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has said the current government is bound by international conventions to uphold the refugee status granted the two.

The two are said to have married in Ghana, with the wife of one of them expecting a child.

According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, the two pose no threat to Ghana's security.

Meanwhile, Dr Ayine wants the current government to stop blaming the John Mahama administration for the continuous stay of the former Guantanamo Bay inmates in Ghana.

“They now have the executive power so they should do whatever they want,” he said.