Let GITMO 2 suspects go! Apaak charges at government

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm June 23, 2017 06:05

Let GITMO 2 suspects go! Apaak charges at government

Members of the Minority in Parliament are hugely divided on what the government must do to two Guantanamo Bay terror suspects deemed to be illegally staying in the country.

While some are urging the government to stick to its position of repatriating the two suspects to the US, others think the government must rather proceed to Parliament to ratify the decision to allow the two to stay in Ghana.

MP for Builsa South Clement Apaak isnsists the suspects must be made to go back to the US.

The marked differences in opinions of the Minority members follow a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court Thursday which described as unconstitutional the stay of Muhammed Al-Dhuby and Muhammed Bin Atef in Ghana.

The two suspects, were given a new home in Ghana in January 2016 after spending over 14 years in detention at the Guantanamo Bay Cuba, for their purported roles in the September 11 terrorist attack in the US.

Their presence in the country caused a huge controversy with the then opposition NPP describing the action by the John Mahama led government as illegal.

Together with other civil society organisations, religious groups the NPP insisted that the action by the president was in breach of the constitution and ought to have taken the agreement to Parliament for ratification.

The government then defended its action, insisting the president had the power to, on matters of national security, take a decision like this without Parliamentary approval.

“With regards to Gitmo, when I talked about consultation, I talk about consultations on the security levels. I was not saying that we went and spoke to every pastor and every Imam to ask whether we should bring the Guantanamo Bay detainees. But we did extensive consultations at the security level to ensure that there was no danger to our safety and security and those consultations were external, they were internal, and that’s what I was referring to.

“This is a matter of security, it’s not an international treaty, and, so, it’s not something that we were required to take to parliament and that’s why it didn’t go to parliament, but as I said, as commander-in-chief, I mean I stand to lose the most if I jeopardised the security of this nation, and, so, we did a lot of work, with our partners and I believe that the collaboration we are having with our international partners is positive,” the president said in an interaction with the media.

He also stated that the two suspects were innocent young men picked up and jailed for 14 years without merit and had to be given some compassion.

But some two individuals were not impressed with the president’s appeal for compassion

The two- 86 year old retired conference officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Margaret Bamfo and a student at the Ghana School of Law, Henry Nana Boakye- decided to challenge the decision in court.

They argued the agreement was an international treaty which required ratification by Parliament and therefore proceeded to the Supreme Court for a true and proper interpretation of Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Article (75) (2) reads: “A treaty, agreement or convention executed by or under the authority of the President shall be subject to ratification by- (a) Act of Parliament; or (b) a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all the members of Parliament.”

They further sought a “declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 58(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President of the Republic of Ghana, who is under an obligation to execute and maintain the laws of Ghana breached the Anti-terrorism Act of 2008 (Act 762) and the Immigration Act of 2000 (Act 573), both being laws passed under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The court by a 6-1 majority decision ruled that the action by the president was unconstitutional. Justice William Atuguba was the only one dissenting.

In its consequential orders the court directed the government to, within three months, either ratify the stay of the two terror suspects in Ghana or have them deported.

Reacting to the ruling former presidential staffer Clement Apaak told Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey, the former president and government did not get it wrong.

He said this is not the first time the Supreme Court  has described as unconstitutional a  decision taken by a government.

Apaak who is also MP for Builsa South however insisted that the NPP must stick to its earlier position and send them where they came from.

“Given that the current government then in opposition had a lot of issues about it, I will say they should live by what they said. They didn’t welcome. If the court has now given them the option for them to stay or be sent back the government has the decision to make,” he stated.

But his compatriot Rockson Dafeamekpor who is MP for South Dayi would rather have the government proceed to Parliament to ratify the stay of the suspects.

He told Joy News government cannot torpedo other agreements it has with the US by repatriating the two suspects.

He said there has not been any adverse repercussion since the two terror suspects arrived in Ghana and would rather the government ratifies their stay in Ghana.

Meanwhile Joy News is learning government might opt for a stay of the two suspects by ratifying their stay in Parliament.

Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm June 23, 2017 06:05
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