President Akufo-Addo says the fate of the two Guantanamo Bay detainees in Ghana will be determined by Parliament when the House reconvenes from recess.
He said he is fully aware that a decision has to be made on the fate of the two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, who were brought to Ghana in 2016 for a period of two years.
“The GITMO detainees, the period is up, a decision has to be made and that decision is under active examination, we need to be able to say something to Parliament when it resumes,” he said
He noted that government will take that decision as early as possible on whether they will stay or arrangements made for them to leave the country.
“The period under which the agreement was made has come to an end, we have to decide whether or not we are going to grant them permission to stay, whether we are going to make arrangements for them to go somewhere else. Those things are being actively examined as we sit, but I am fully aware that a decision on them has to be made, and it cannot be made in six or five months it has to be made now,” he said.
Ghana’s controversial agreement with the United States of America for the hosting of two former Guantanamo Bay detainees effectively ended on January 6, this year.
The two detainees 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.
The move to host the two in the country was criticized by many observers including the then-in-opposition New Patriotic Party, who described the two as a security threat despite assurances to the contrary by the US.
Two citizens; Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, further sued the former Attorney General and the Minister of Interior contending that the two were being hosted illegally.
The two were justified by the Supreme Court, which declared as unconstitutional the agreement between the Mahama government and the United States.
The apex court ordered the government to send the agreement to Parliament for ratification or have the two detainees sent back to the US.
According to the judgment, the government needed the approval of Parliament before entering into any international agreement, just as in the case of the two detainees.
When the matter came up for discussion in Parliament, the House was informed that the agreement that was reached under a note verbale and Memorandum of Understanding.
A note verbale is a piece of diplomatic correspondence prepared in the third person and unsigned.
Parliament subsequently ratified the agreement for the two for detainees to be in the country.