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General News of Wednesday, 24 January 2018


Minority MPs demand justification for Gitmo 2 stay in Ghana after Jan 6 deadline

Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby play videoMahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby

The Minority in Parliament has asked the Government to bring the agreement allowing the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees to stay in the country before Parliament for ratification.

The Minority said the agreement approved by Parliament, which permitted the two former detainees to stay in Ghana, expired on January 6, 2018.

Ranking Member of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, raised the matter on the floor of the House when Parliament resumed sitting from its long recess.

The Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional an agreement between the then President John Mahama-led Government and the United States, which saw two Guantanamo Bay detainees brought into Ghana.

The court, therefore, ordered that the Government sent the agreement to Parliament for ratification or have the two detainees sent back to the United States.

The two detainees, 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 stay for a period, after which they were expected to be reintegrated in their home country.

Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said when President Nana Akufo-Addo met the media at the Flagstaff House, he indicated that when Parliament reconvened there would be a decision for another ratification of the agreement.

He said because the government had not ratified the agreement when it expired on January 6, 2018, they were in breach of Article 75(2) of the Constitution and disregarding the decision of the Supreme Court.

“From the midnight of January 6, 2018, we are in breach of the Constitution and every additional day we are breaking the Constitution and if anybody takes the matter to the Supreme Court the Executive would be embarrassed,” he said.

Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa stated that it was for the Executive to bring the agreement to Parliament on whatever they had decided on and communicate same to the people of Ghana.

He said since he raised the matter on the floor of Parliament indications were that there would be communications from the Executive on the issue to the House.

He said the decision on the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees, for now, clearly lay in the bosom of the Executive.

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