The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference has reiterated calls for the government to send back the two Guantanamo Bay detainees currently being hosted to the United States.
The two, 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, for a period of two years, after which they are expected to be reintegrated in their home country, Yemen.
But two Ghanaian citizens, Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, subsequently sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, together with the Minister of Interior, accusing then-President John Mahama of illegally bringing in the two without recourse to the laws of the land.
The plaintiffs were seeking 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.”
After staying in the country for over a year, the Supreme Court a few weeks ago declared as unconstitutional the hosting of the two detainees without parliamentary approval of the agreement for their stay.
The court in its judgement thus asked government to put before Parliament an agreement that will legalize the two detainees’ stay in the country, or they risk being repatriated within three the next months.
Following the Supreme Court’s judgement, President of the Conference, Reverend Philip Naameh, has told Citi News the two should be repatriated once the Supreme Court has made provision for such a move.
“Once it makes provision for the detainees to be taken back to the country I will support that because there might have been a reason why US did not want the people to come back to the US, so if the ruling of the Supreme Court is that either it goes back to Parliament so that it is legalized or the people are taken to the US , I will think that it is the most logical thing because we were saying we did not see that it was legal enough and it has been confirmed by the Supreme Court ruling and therefore if they will take them back to the US, we will have no issue with that.”
The Conference had earlier cautioned that hosting the two in the country was dangerous. The Council, in a statement had indicated that, the move posed a major security threat to Ghana.
“…We expect our Government to focus a lot of attention on helping to secure peace and security in the country by dealing with the above-mentioned and related challenges and not to risk the security of our land by hosting two former terrorists,” the Conference intimated.