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Former President Mahama acted unconstitutionally in Guantanamo Bay two issue – Supreme Court

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Mahmud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef

The Supreme Court of Ghana has ruled that former President John Dramani Mahama acted unconstitutionally when he allowed two detainees that were being held in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay to be transferred to Ghana, and has ordered that the agreement allowing the detainees to be brought to Ghana should be sent to Parliament for ratification in three months or else the detainees should be returned to the US.

The detainees were transferred to Ghana on January 6, 2017.

Former US President, Barack Obama decided to close down Guantanamo Bay before he left office in less than a year. The US government then started what would be the largest round of transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees in a month since 2007, and Ghana became the first country in sub-Sahara Africa to take in detainees. Ghana took in two detainees to live in Ghana.

The two detainees are Khalid Mohammed Salih al-Dhuby and Mahmud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef.

The two men who were born in Saudi Arabia are considered Yemeni citizens based on their family and tribal ties according to military dossiers leaked by Pvt. Chelsea Manning.

A New York Times report published December 16, 2015 citing officials familiar with the plan said the move was meant to reduce the detainee population in Guantanamo Bay to as low as 90 by mid-January, 2016.

Two Ghanaians, Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye 2016 sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Minister of Interior, accusing the Ghana government of illegally bringing in the two former Gitmo detainees, without recourse to the laws of the land. 

The two plaintiffs sought 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 the two.

They contended that the presence of two Guantanamo detainees in the country was unconstitutional and was such inviting the Supreme Court to abrogate the agreement on the two.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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