Ghana’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court has ruled that former Guantanamo detainees, who were resettled in the country, are no longer welcome. The court went on to further declare that former President John Mahamat, who welcomed these ex-detainees, acted unconstitutionally. This is because the President decided to singlehandedly open the doors of the West African country to two of the Bay’s former detainees without consulting the Parliament, as reported by the BBC.
While making her ruling last Thursday, June 22, Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo gave the government three months to send the Bill to the Parliament for consideration or repatriate the two men. The government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has yet to officially address the matter.
The two Yemenis in question, Khalid Mohammed Salih al-Dhuby and Mahmmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef arrived in Ghana at the beginning of last year, during the mandate of then President John Mahamat, who struck a deal with the U.S. government. According to the deal, Ghana was to receive intelligence from the U.S. while it accepted the two men to stay on its territory for, at least, two years before they could go back to their country of origin.
From the onset of their arrival, many groups and individuals protested against the move, which eventually culminated in the court case against the government that was filed by two Ghanaians. The release and transfer of these two men, who had spent 14 years in the Cuban-based penitentiary facility, was part of former President Barack Obama’s decision to close down the prison when he assumed office in 2009. These two men were cleared for release since 2009, but the U.S. government could not find a receiving country for them, that is until Ghana opted to provide them temporary shelter in 2016. However, it becomes complicated now that the Ghanaian Supreme Court is challenging their stay on its soil.
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