Suspicions by the US that Bin Atef and Al-Dhuby were terrorists have proven to be unreasonable, the Deputy Interior Minister has said.
Mr. James Agalga says the fact America held the two for 14 years and didn’t charge with any crime is evidence there was no reasonable basis to suspect them of being terrorists.
In the same vein, he argues, the Director of Immigration could not have possibly stopped the entry of the two into Ghana since there were no reasonable grounds to suspect of terrorism.
The deputy Minister said, accusations that Section 35(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008 was breached by government for allowing the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees into Ghana are unfounded.
Opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo last week accused the president of acting lawlessly by breaching provisions of the law which prohibited the coming into Ghana of the two.
The relevant provision states, “The Director of Immigration or an officer authorised by the Director shall not grant an endorsement or authority to permit a person to enter this country if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is, will, or has been involved in the commission of a terrorist act.”
But Mr. Agalga insisted that “the Director, Immigration did all the assessment, did all the evaluation and on reasonable grounds, did not suspect that the two have committed, will commit, or can commit acts of terrorism in this country.”
It was pointed out to him that a 2007 Department of Defence document from the US had at least declared Bin Atef to be of high risk.
He parried the point by stating that that report had been repudiated by a later document.
“I’m saying that all the suspicions of the United States that Bin Atef and Al-Dhuby may have committed acts of terrorism were unreasonable and that is why for 14 good years of their detention, they couldn’t even press a single charge against them. Therein lies the unreasonableness of their detention,” he stressed.
The Builsa North Member of Parliament said President John Dramani Mahama exercised executive authority by accepting to host Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.
He insisted the president acted within the law.