Government says it is unable to immediately execute plans to repatriate the two Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been in Ghana the last two years because of their refugee status.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Wiredu said the Ministry was surprised to discover that the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime granted the refugee status to the two Yemeni nationals before the end of their mandatory two-year stay in the country.
With their new status as refugees, it will be difficult to send them to another country when they have not flouted Ghana’s laws, he told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story Wednesday.
[L-R] Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby and Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef
The two Yeminis – Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby – were resettled in Ghana in January 2016 following an agreement between the John Mahama government and the Barack Obama led-U.S. administration.
The Yeminis were detained at the Guantanamo Bay for 14 years after they were linked to terrorist group, Al-Qaeda and were released as part of US government’s plan to shut down the facility.
Their stay in Ghana ended on January 6, 2018, but the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said the men have been granted a refugee status without their knowledge.
“Once the two are here and they are obeying our laws and have not gone against the laws, it is difficult [to send them away] without their consent,” Mr Wiredu said.
The two are said to have married in Ghana, with the wife of one of them expecting a child, Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey revealed.
Former Deputy Attorney-General Dr Dominic Ayine
But former Deputy Attorney-General Dr Dominic Ayine has asked the government to give the past administration a “break”, charging it to repatriate the men if it deemed fit.
He said the men were granted a refugee status because they comported themselves in a befitting manner during their stay in the country.
“They now have the executive power so they should do whatever they want,” he said, expressing surprise that some details he considered a threat to national security have been made public.
Although he admitted there was no exit plan in the agreement, Dr Ayine said both parties knew the deal was for only two years.
He has asked the government to send the two Yemenis to their country even though the Foreign Affairs Minister has said that could not be possible because there is war in Yemen.
“Is the government saying because of the war they cannot return them to Yemen?” he said, accusing the government of acting as if it was in opposition.
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