Ghana’s Supreme Court has ruled that the the erstwhile government acted unconstitutionally by accepting two former detainees of Guantanamo Bay in an agreement with the US government.
According to its ruling, the John Dramani Mahama administration needed to seek the consent of the legislature before accepting the two Yeminis who had been held for a decade in the prison. The court gave the parliament three months to ratify the deal or that the detainees be deported.
The two men, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, arrived in Ghana in January last year to a huge outcry by a section of civil society. Many Ghanaians said the detainees posed a threat to national security, but both governments denied the claims.
The then-government had previously explained to the court that the content of the agreement entered into by the two governments was a diplomatic communication that was unsigned and written in the third person.
The court, however, disagreed and subsequently ordered that copies of the agreement be made available to lawyers for the plaintiffs.
Two private citizens, Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice together with the Minister of Interior for the then Government’s decision to admit the two former terror suspects without recourse to the law.
The Plaintiffs also accused ex-President Mahama of illegally bringing the ex-detainees into the country. The US last year engaged a number of African countries in prisoner transfer deals as it set out to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Mahama lost elections in December last year as he attempted a second term bid. He was beaten by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who won the seat after his third attempt having previously lost in 2004, 2008 and 2012.