xxxxxxxxxxx of Sun, 24 Mar 20190

Government's silence on disappearance of Lebanese businessman repugnant - Minority

The Minority in Parliament is demanding government action in the alleged abduction and disappearance of Mahran Mustapha Baajour, a Lebanese businessman.

In a press release Sunday and signed by the Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the Akufo-Addo-led regime should act in an accountable manner as is expected of democratic states.

The Minority demands government to break its unhelpful silence over the abduction and disappearance of Mahran Mustapha Baajour.

“The Minority is reliably informed that immediately after arriving at the Kotoka International Airport on December 13, 2018, Mahran Mustapha Baajour and his two Ghanaian hosts who welcomed him at the airport were arrested at the precincts of the airport just when they were about departing in their Toyota salon vehicle with registration number GN 6126 - 15 by persons claiming to be operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

“After all three were kept in detention for six days in violation of Ghanaian law, our understanding is that Mahran's two hosts, one Razak Abdul and another were then released as free men while Mahran was kept in detention. This is the reason Mahran's family and officials from his country are having a hard time believing denials and claims of innocence by Ghanaian Government officials they have contacted,” the Minority alleges.

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The Minority wants government to “be conscious of the implications of this whole abduction affair especially on our peacekeeping troops in Lebanon if the matter in issue continues to be handled so abysmally.”

Below is the statement:

Akufo-Addo’s government handling of Mahran Mustapha Baajour’s abduction affair repugnant

The Minority in Ghana's Parliament demands that the Akuffo-Addo led Government acts in an accountable manner as is expected of democratic States and a further demand that it breaks its unhelpful silence over the abduction and disappearance of Mahran Mustapha Baajour.

Mahran Mustapha Baajour, 39, is a Lebanese businessman of Palestinian origin who arrived in Ghana from Lebanon on a business visit on the 13th of December, 2018 and has since not been seen in public.

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The Minority is reliably informed that immediately after arriving at the Kotoka International Airport on December 13, 2018, Mahran Mustapha Baajour and his two Ghanaian hosts who welcomed him at the airport were arrested at the precincts of the airport just when they were about departing in their Toyota salon vehicle with registration number GN 6126 - 15 by persons claiming to be operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

After all three were kept in detention for six days in violation of Ghanaian law, our understanding is that Mahran's two hosts, one Razak Abdul and another were then released as free men while Mahran was kept in detention. This is the reason Mahran's family and officials from his country are having a hard time believing denials and claims of innocence by Ghanaian Government officials they have contacted.

This despicable human rights violation is stirring considerable unease in diplomatic circles with Ghana's image as a stable democratic State which upholds human rights and respects the rule of law clearly on the line.

Mahran Mustapha Baajour's three-month-old abduction has already led to major protests in Beirut, Lebanon where petitions have been presented to that nation's President and the Speaker of their Parliament.

Our monitoring of international media including Al-Jazeera which has already broadcasted two stories on this matter confirms that another petition demanding the release of Mahran addressed to the Ghanaian Government has been presented to our Consular Officer in Lebanon where another protest was staged with protesters carrying banners which read: "Mahran is in your prisons."

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The Minority which continues to follow this matter with keen interest has come into further information pointing to an escalation of protests by Lebanese nationals and human rights activists across the world against the Ghanaian Government. Indeed, protests have been scheduled to take place at Ghana's embassy in Washington, D.C. in the United States of America later this week.

Undoubtedly, this worrying development does not bode well for Ghana's image in the comity of nations.

We must also be conscious of the implications of this whole abduction affair especially on our peacekeeping troops in Lebanon if the matter in issue continues to be handled so abysmally.

Despite the Minority's numerous behind the scenes interventions urging Government to publicly state it's claimed innocence and be seen to be manifestly working to resolve the mystery; the continuous silence of the Akufo-Addo led Government for more than three months even in the face of several local and international press reports as matters degenerate and as anxiety rises to fever pitch is most reckless and unacceptable, to say the least.

This uninspiring conduct by the current Government is, unfortunately, fueling several suspicions in various quarters even as our international image continues to take a nosedive in recent times following the unresolved assassination of undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale and the disgraceful bloody Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, both of which attracted wide international condemnation.

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The Minority, therefore, demands that the Akufo-Addo Administration which is in charge of the territorial security of Ghana and which is being held responsible by the growing number of protesters, takes urgent steps to assure the family of Mahran Mustapha Baajour - who we note sadly lost his mum last week, the people of Lebanon and the entire international community that Ghana will not slide into a state of lawlessness neither will we become a haven for human rights abuses perpetrated by faceless persons acting in the name of the State.

Signed,

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP)

Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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