A 7-member Supreme Court panel on Thursday ruled that it was illegal for two Guantanamo bay detainees to have been admitted into Ghana during the John Mahama administration without recourse to Parliament.
According to PeaceFM’s Agya Kwabena, who was in court today, the panel, presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, in six to one (6 -1) majority decision, declared that it is unconstitutional for the two ex-detainees to be allowed into the country without Parliament’s prior approval.
The court also directed that the issue of the two ex-detainees’ admittance into Ghana, be brought before Parliament within the next three (3) months.
Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef, 36 and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, 34, arrived in Ghana from the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay for a two-year stay as part of a deal reached between the United States of America and the Government of Ghana.
The two, who were in detention for 14 years after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda, were brought to Ghana in 2016, to be reintegrated back into their home countries.
That decision by the then Mahama-led administration was met with massive public uproar, sparking unending and heated debate in the country, with many describing it as a threat to national security.
It finally resulted in two Ghanaians — Magaret Bamful, an 86-year-old retired conference officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Henry Nana Boakye, a student of Ghana School of Law (now Deputy Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat) —filing a suit against government asking the Supreme Court to declare that then President John Mahama acted unconstitutionally by accepting the former Al-Qaeda terrorists in Ghana.
The writ, with suit number J1/7/2016, was filed through their lawyer Nana Agyei Baffuor Awuah, an English and Ghanian trained Barrister, of DE MEDEIROS and Associates, an Accra based law firm.
The plaintiffs sought 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.”
And two, a “declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 58(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President of the Republic of Ghana who is under an obligation to execute and maintain laws of Ghana breached the Anti-terrorism Act of 2008 (Act 762) and the Immigration Act of 2000 (Act 573), both being laws passed under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana”.