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Ghana: Decision on Guantanamo detainees ‘unconstitutional’

Ghana’s government is seeking to reassure the public that two former Guantanamo prisoners living in the West African nation remain under security agencies’ supervision, a day after a court ruled their arrival was unconstitutional without parliament’s approval.The court in a 6-1 majority decision ruled the action by the then president was in breach of Article 75 of the constitution which required that all worldwide agreements be brought before Parliament for ratification.A seven-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo reached the ruling by a 6-1 majority, with only Justice William Atuguba dissenting.The statement comes after the Supreme Court on Thursday described the stay of the two ex-detainees in Ghana as illegal and ordered their stay in the country to be subjected to parliamentary approval in the next three months.The two detainees are Khalid Mohammed Salih al-Dhuby and Mahmud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef. It has held peaceful elections and has not been plagued by the insurgencies and terrorist attacks that have unsettled other countries in the region.Several religious and civil society groups in Ghana protested Mahama’s decision at the time.The ex-president in defence of the action said the two suspects were innocent young boys who were picked up in their countries, jailed for years without trial and deserved some compassion.In a verdict read by Justice Sophia Akuffo, the new Chief Justice, it blamed former President John Dramani Mahama for not seeking Parliamentary approval before accepting the detainees, following a request from the USA to Ghana in that direction.In recent years, Ghana has been praised as a model democracy in Africa. Ghana took in two detainees to live in Ghana.They further sought 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 the 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”.The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson on Thursday told Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee that henceforth, his country will treat all former presidents, MPs and state ministers to queue like any other ordinary Ghanaian, when applying for U.S. visas for their private trips. They were sent there in January 2016.