Ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees granted refugee status in Ghana
ACCRA, Jan. 24, 2018 (AltAfrika)- Two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees currently in Ghana will not return to their home country, Yemen, Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said here Wednesday.
The minister told Ghana’s parliament the two have been granted refugee status and become Ghana’s responsibility.
Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby were flown to Ghana from Guantanamo Bay in January 2016.
A statement announcing the duo’s arrival by then Foreign Affairs Minister Hanna Serwaa Tetteh on Jan. 6, 2016, said Ghana had accepted a plea from the International Criminal Tribunal to provide shelter for them after they had been cleared.
The two terror suspects of Yemeni origin had been detained in Guantanamo Bay prison by U.S. authorities.
The announcement sparked protests from the citizenry who feared the two ex-detainees could pose a security threat to Ghana.
Botchwey told parliament that no exit arrangements were originally discussed between the two governments to end the bilateral arrangement at the time of negotiations and that the U.S. had also been clear that discussions with them over the agreement or returning them to the U.S. was not an option open to discussion or negotiation.
“This means that all obligations relating to the two subjects have now become the responsibility of Ghana,” she said, adding that the agreement signed between the two parties stipulated that the Ghanaian government was to take measures to facilitate the integration of the two into Ghanaian society.
“What this means is that while the United States‘ obligations ends after two years, Ghana’s obligation continues even after that. In addition and even more significant, the Ministry for the Interior has informed my ministry of records at the Refugee Board which reveal that the government at the time granted the two detainees refugee status,” said Botchwey