Rash executions aren't the solution President Jammeh
It may be a pretty popular tourist destination. But The Gambia also holds one of the worst human rights records across West Africa. Under the direction of the country’s President Yahya Jammeh.
You may remember when ‘witch doctors’ rounded up about 1,000 people suspected of being witches and took them to secret detention centres. There these people were forced to drink poison, and in some cases were severely beaten almost to the point of death. This was under the President’s direction and on some occasions he sent his own personal bodyguards to accompany the “witch doctors” in his pursuit to rid the country of witches.
Meanwhile last year The Gambia’s former Minister for Information and Communication – Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh – was found guilty of treason for printing and distributing T-shirts which read ‘End Dictatorship Now’. Dr Janneh is currently serving life imprisonment with hard labour for this ‘crime’.
And as top hat pointed out yesterday a Gambian journalist Ebrima Manneh has been disappeared since 2006. To this date his family know nothing about his whereabouts.
For many people the prospect of a fair trial in The Gambia remains bleak. So the recent threat by President Jammeh to execute all inmates on death row by mid-September is pretty alarming, given that many of those on death row may have been convicted after an unfair trial.
This isn’t just an idle threat. Days after his speech, nine death row inmates were dragged from their cells and brought before a firing squad where they were executed.
Amnesty understands that the prisoners who were executed weren’t told of their execution date in advance, and neither were their families – a clear violation of international law on the use of the death penalty.
Given that it looks as though the President was deadly serious in his order, we’re urging as many of you as possible to call on the Gambian authorities to put a stop to these executions. Click here to find out how you can take action.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.