GITMO case resurrects

The case of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees otherwise referred to as the “GITMO 2”, which was adjourned indefinitely a couple of months ago by the Supreme Court, has been “resurrected”.

But the matter was yet again adjourned to January 10, 2017, when it was called yesterday without assigning any reasons.

However, The Ghanaian Times investigations revealed that one of the seven-member panel of judges sitting on the case (name withheld) was indisposed.

The issue of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Afef and Khalid Muhammed Salih Al-Dhuby, who are considered high profiled terrorists, has been pending in the Apex court since March, 2016, when two Ghanaians, Mrs. Margaret Banful and Henry Nana Boakye filed a writ against the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice as well as the Ministry of the Interior on the basis of their (Gitmo 2) resettlement in Ghana.

The lawyer of the plaintiffs, Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah, had earlier asked the court presided by Mr. Justice William Atuguba, to compel the Attorney-general to produce the agreement between the government of Ghana and its American counterpart signed before accepting the “Gitmo 2” to Ghana from a detention camp in Cuba to settle in the country for two years.

But the acting Solicitor General, Mrs. Helen Ziwu, told the court that the diplomatic agreement entered into by the two countries and known as “NoteVerbales” was confidential, and its disclosure to the public would violate section one of the State Secrets Act, 1962 (Act 101).

In order to establish the facts as to whether the disclosure of the agreement which was in exclusive custody of the Attorney-General could, indeed, jeopardise national security, Mr. Justice Atugube ordered the A-G to produce the said agreement to the Supreme Court in camera for perusal.

The Attorney-General obliged and produced the diplomatic agreement (Note Verbales) through the out-going Deputy Attorney-General, Dr. Dominic Ayine, accompanied by Mrs Dorothy Afriyie-Ansah, Chief State Attorney and Ms Zeinab Ayariga, Assistant State Attorney, as instructed by the court.

And upon a careful and thorough scrutiny of the document, the president of the panel of judges, Mr. Justice Atuguba, said the disclosure of the agreement in court would not be a threat to state or national security, and adjourned the matter indefinitely (sine die) until such a time that all the parties would file their respective statements of case which had been done.

It would be recalled that the out-going president John Dramani Mahama signed an agreement with the government of the United States of America under the leadership of its out-going president, Barack Obama, accepting to host Muhammad Bin Atef and Salih Al-Dhuby in Ghana after spending 14 years in a detention camp in Cuba without trial for their alleged involvement in terrorist activities.

The presence of the “Gitmo 2” in the country put fears in some Ghanaians considering the covert but deadly manoeuvres of terrorists across the world.
This triggered the lawsuit against the state for hosting the two Yeminis who America has described as “low risk terrorists”.

The plaintiffs, Mrs. Banful and Nana Boakye are asking the Supreme Court for “an order directed at the president and his assigns for the immediate removal and return of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby from the Republic of Ghana to Guantanamo Bay since their continuous stay is unlawful”.
The members of the panel include Ms. Justice Sophia Akuffo, Mrs. Sophia Adinyira, Mr. Justice Jones Dotse, Mr. Justice Sule Gbadegbe, Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah and Mr. Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie.


By Castro Zangina-Tong

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