Ghana’s latest imports are detainees from Guantanamo Bay

Ghana has received two Yemeni detainees Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, who were transferred from the United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh said Ghana has given permission for the detainees to stay for two years subject to security clearances.

“The United States is taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo and to close the detention facility in a responsible manner,” a statement by the US Department of State said. “While our policy preference is to repatriate detainees to their home countries where we can do so consistent with our national security and humane treatment policies, under certain circumstances the most viable transfer option is resettlement in a third country.”

The United States has sent 82 of the 133 detainees who have been transferred from Guantanamo during the Barrack Obama Administration to third countries.

A pair of Canadian demonstrators in 2008.
A pair of Canadian demonstrators in 2008.

The world power expressed appreciation to the Government of Ghana for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. It noted that the decision to transfer a detainee is made only after detailed, specific conversations with the receiving country about the potential threat a detainee may pose after transfer and the measures the receiving country will take in order to sufficiently mitigate that threat, and to ensure humane treatment.

The Pentagon said Al-Dhuby had been approved for release since 2006 and Atef since 2009.

The United States is taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo and to close the detention facility in a responsible manner and expressed appreciation to “our partner” Ghana for its generous humanitarian action.

The statement stressed that the closure of Guantanamo is a goal shared by many governments around the world. Today, 105 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay and 50 of them have been cleared for release. At the time of its establishment in January 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the prison camp was established to detain extraordinarily dangerous people.

Uganda and Cape Verde have received former Guantanamo Bay detainees in the past.