Ghana: Decision to Allow Two Former Gitmo Prisoners Entry in 2016 ‘Unconstitutional’

GITMO Detainees Brennan Linsley AP
Brennan Linsley AP

The highest court in Ghana dismissed the decision by former President John Mahama to allow two former Guantánamo Bay prisoners entry into the West African country back in January 2016 as “unconstitutional.”

On Thursday, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the ex-president required approval from Ghanaian lawmakers for the transfer to take place.

The court gave Ghana’s parliament three months to approve or deny entry to the detainees who were once held at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, commonly known in the press as Gitmo.

“Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby had been held as enemy combatants but were cleared for release in 2009,” notes the Associated Press (AP). “The two Yemenis were the first Guantanamo prisoners resettled in sub-Saharan Africa and arrived in January 2016.”

Former President “Mahama has said the detainees were taken in after a direct request by the United States government and did not pose a security threat. Several religious and civil society groups protested their transfer to Ghana,” it adds.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Ghana is a predominantly Christian with only about 20 percent of the population identified as Muslim.

President Donald Trump has condemned his predecessor’s decision to liberate Gitmo prisoners, particularly the “vicious” ones who have re-engaged in terrorist activities.

The president has vowed to keep the facility open and use it to incarcerate more jihadists. There are 41 prisoners still being held at Gitmo, down from the 242 who were there when former President Obama took office in 2009.

Many of the detainees, likely the majority of them, are from Yemen, home to an ongoing war and unstable government.

The latest assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed that 122 former Guantánamo detainees released under both former Presidents George W. Bush (113) and Obama (9) were confirmed to have returned to terrorism and 86 are suspected of doing so as of mid-July 2016.

That means an estimated 30 percent of all prisoners released from Guantánamo facility are confirmed or suspected to have returned to terrorism.

Former President George W. Bush released more Gitmo detainees than Obama, who failed to keep his campaign promise to shut down the prison.

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