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Opinions Sat, 24 Jun 2017

Why did it take so long to give verdict on the Gitmo prisoners?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Ghana presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo ruled in a (6-1) majority decision that, it was unconstitutional for two Guantanamo detainees to be accepted in Ghana before parliamentary approval. Also, the court directed the two detainees case be brought to the parliament for the next three months ahead.

These two former prisoners of Guantanamo Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef, 36 and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, 34, were prisoned for 14 years for the suspicion that they were associated to Al-Qaeda. They came to Ghana specifically to be reintegrated to their country later. They are not staying in Ghana permanently. Ghana can reintegrate them before they go back to their country.

First, I do not oppose the outcome of the verdict since it is consistent with the law of Ghana. Apparently, one of the first famous ruling under Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo. My concern is that why did it take so long to take this case to court? Or why did it take so long for this ruling to come out? Did someone sue the government since last year or the court delayed the verdict till yesterday? These detainees came to Ghana in 2016 before the election. What slowed the process? The ruling or the people who sued?

For the next three month, the detainees are going to live in Ghana till the Parliament make their decision. What if someone sued earlier and the court came with a ruling before they came to the country? We watched the NDC government to do an illegal thing, and we are now blaming them. If the prisoners had the intention to harm Ghana, they could have done it long ago because we are slow in making decisions most of the time, all things being equal.

Second, are these prisoners a threat to Ghana? How? Are they doing something to hurt Ghana? So far, these men have lived in Ghana peaceful since last year, and we have not heard anything bad relating to them. I am sure the BNI, US Embassy, CIA, and other national intelligence are watching these individuals activities in the country. Personally, I do not think they have something evil to hurt Ghana. What has Ghana done to them that will cause them to bomb us?

I think some people are living in fear since these men came to Ghana and they are finding all means to drive them out of the country. It is your country and if you do not want them, be honest and tell them straight to leave. The government can boldly say to the US government to take these prisoners out of the country, and they will do so. Why can't the government do this if it is unconstitutional? I hate to hear baseless accusations against these prisoners while they are in the country.

Again, the politics behind these prisoners do not make sense. NDC government brought them to Ghana so what is NPP government case? You got to deal with your politics and leave these men alone. The problem is not the presence of these prisoners in the country rather the government inability to take decisive decisions prior anything. These prisoners deserve a break on some groundless accusations against them.

I am sure they are beginning even to regret coming to the country. Sometimes your actions could make people bad against you. As I said, it is your country, if you do not want them, stop the unnecessary politics and ask them to leave.

Columnist: Kwadwo T. Boakye
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