My Client Being Used As ‘political Football’

A legal representative of  Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef, one of the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred to Ghana, believes the change in government in both Ghana and the US, may have seen his client being used as a political tool.

Speaking exclusively to Citi News’ Umaru Sanda Amadu, the lawyer, George Clark, said the transfer of power, “certainly doesn’t help, and it is unfortunate that it appears to me that he is being used as a political football when he has nothing to do with that.”

“To put that change on a specific person or a specific deal that the prior government made seems to be inappropriate, and that is what it seems to be happening.”

He, however noted that, the challenges have persisted since the transfer to Ghana, but couldn’t explicitly say things have gotten worse since the change in government to the current Akufo-Addo administration.

“When you have somebody that has been detained illegally for as long as he was detained…  he necessarily had and will have a difficult time readjusting to a normal life and that was present even prior to the change in government.”

George Clark has represented Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef since 2015, and has been in contact with his client since his transfer to Ghana in January 2016, to help coordinate between the US and Ghana governments.

He however said his client is desirous of more freedom in Ghana and wants to “live a regular life”.

However, the Akufo-Addo administration “has been trying to protect him” in the sense that the government is trying to keep people away from him.”

“But that has negative connotations for him, in being able to work and be productive and things like that. It is a complicated situation for him,” the lawyer added.

Following the judgment indicating that the Mahama Administration needed the approval of Parliament before entering into any international agreement like the case of these two detainees, George Clark said his client was worried about the development, but it is “premature for him to make a decision as to what to do.”

“I am sure that he is worried about that. Repatriating him to Yemen would be contrary to international law because of the armed conflict in Yemen, so I don’t think that is going to happen,” the lawyer added.

Two Ghanaian citizens sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, together with the Minister of Interior, accusing then-President John Mahama of illegally bringing in the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees, without recourse to the laws of the land.

The plaintiffs were seeking, among other reliefs, a declaration that the President of the Republic of Ghana acted unconstitutionally, per Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution, by agreeing to the transfer of the two detainees.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that one of the two ex-Guantanmo Bay detainees, has gotten married during his short stay in the country. Bin Atef’s wife, Haia, is a Yemeni national, and they married about two and a half months ago, with close family relatives in attendance.

Bin Atef’s wife, Haia, is a Yemeni national, and they married about two and a half months ago, with close family relatives in attendance. This was confirmed to by his lawyer.

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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)