Parliament ratifies agreement on two former detainees

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Mahmud Umar Muhammad bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih al Dhuby
Mahmud Umar Muhammad bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih al Dhuby

Parliament has ratified the agreement between Ghana and the United States of America (USA) on the resettlement in Ghana of two former detainees of the US Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Mahmud Umar Muhammad bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih al Dhuby.

The ratification last Tuesday was in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling, which called for the ratification of the verbal agreement to resettle the two men in Ghana within three months.

Following the ruling, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, laid the agreement in Parliament and it was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration and report back to the House.

Committees' report

Presenting the committees' report last Tuesday, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Frank Annor Dompreh, said the committee had concluded that the two detainees did not pose any security challenge to the country.

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Besides, he said, their continuous stay would strengthen the relations between Ghana and the USA.

Mr Dompreh recalled that the two detainees were brought to Ghana in January, 2016 for a two-year stay.

He said the detainees had about five months to the end of their stay and, therefore, they should be allowed to remain in Ghana.

Supporting the motion, a Ranking Member of the committee, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the argument for their stay at the Supreme Court was the same advanced by the current government.

Supreme Court

The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said the decision of the Supreme Court indicated that all international agreements and Memorandum of Understanding between the government and other entities must come to Parliament for ratification.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the agreement of the government to bring the former detainees to Ghana without Parliamentary approval was an illegality.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the government had started engagement with the authorities of the USA on where the detainees would be staying after January, 2018.