Two former detainees at Guantanamo Bay, whose arrival in Ghana in 2016 caused a major uproar, are to remain in the country despite the expiry of the two-year agreement between Ghana and the US that allowed them to stay in the country, foreign minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said.
She told Parliament that the Yemenis – Khalid Mohammed Salih al-Dhuby and Mahmmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef – were granted refugee status under the government of former President John Mahama in July 2016 and the government had no option than to keep them in Ghana.
Further, they have both married while in Ghana, with their wives being foreigners.
Parliament in August last year ratified an agreement to allow the two men to stay in Ghana, following a Supreme Court order.
The current government, then in opposition, led a loud demand that the two, being “terrorists”, should be returned to their country as they would attract terrorists to Ghana, despite assurances by the US and Ghana governments that they were no longer dangerous. The two men were in detention for 14 years after being linked with Al-Qaeda and were never put on trial.
Ms Botchway said the agreement signed between the government of Ghana and the US indicated that while the US had no obligation to the detainees after the initial two-year agreement, Ghana had the responsibility to integrate the two into the society.
“No exit arrangements were originally discussed between the two governments to end the bilateral arrangement at the time of negotiations. The US has also been clear that discussions with them over the agreement or returning them to the United States is not an option open to discussion or negotiation.”
She said all obligations relating to the two men had now become the responsibility of Ghana, as the obligations of the US ended after two years.