US Ambassador to Ghana surprised about Gitmo 2 refugee status

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson explained that the US government was responsible for the upkeep of the former detainees for only 2 years which ended on January 6, 2018.

Mr Jackson was speaking to journalists at Tamale in the Northern Region. He explained that the US government was responsible for the upkeep of the former detainees for only 2 years which ended on January 6, 2018.

“I did not know until this week that they have been granted a refugee status. That came as a much of a surprise to me as all of you. However that decision just gives them certain rights and if the government Ghana wishes to relocate them to a third country, they need to discuss that with the two refugees under the international. We have no role in that and no objection to it. At this point we consider it as a matter between the government of Ghana and the two,” he said.

The two detainees of Yemeni nationality, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, who were in detention for 14 years after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda, were brought to Ghana in January 2016, for a period of two years.

At the time when they came to Ghana, a statement released by the then-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh, on January 6, 2015, did not explicitly state that the former detainees would necessarily have to leave the country after the agreement expired. The statement said the two may leave the country after the two-year period, suggesting the decision was in their hands.

Many Ghanaians criticized the government of the day for taking such a decision.

Two citizens; Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, further sued the former Attorney General and the Minister of Interior contending that the two were being hosted illegally.

The Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the agreement between the Mahama government and the United States.

The Supreme Court ordered the government to send the agreement to Parliament for ratification or have the two detainees sent back to the US.

There have been calls for the two to be repatriated but Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey disclosed that they cannot be sent out of Ghana since the erstwhile Mahama administration granted them refugee status.

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