CSAG CONDEMNS PRESIDENT JAMMEH DEATH ROW EXECUTION REMARKS
August 22, 2012
The Civil Society Associations Gambia (CSAG) vehemently condemns President Yahya Jammeh’s Eid-el-Fitr remarks that death row inmates will be executed by September.
President Jammeh’s remarks, Sunday August 18, during a traditional Eid-el-Fitr visit of Muslim religious leaders, has sent shock waves and angst among the families of the death row inmates. CSAG has learnt that the mood in Mile 2 Central Prisons has since been one of despair and distress with every death row inmate believing they will be the first to be executed.
CSAG is particularly disturbed that on the day of Eid-el-Fitr, when Muslims the world over seek forgiveness, extend messages of peace and love, show solidarity with one another and those in distressing conditions, that President Jammeh chose once again to show his brutality and repressive nature by informing Muslim leaders that he would execute prisoners.
President Jammeh’s remarks though not new, are shocking, troubling, distressing and to do not augur well for the already deteriorating human rights standards of The Gambia.
CSAG is strongly convinced that most of those who were convicted to death for treason went through unfair trials and considers their convictions politically related. CSAG will be working with human rights institutions in neighboring countries and globally to put a stop to any attempt to execute death row inmates in The Gambia.
The Mile Two Central Prisons is home to Forty Seven (47)[i] death row inmates, an unusually high number by any standards. Of these one, (1) is a female, eleven (11) are political prisoners, the longest serving was sentenced in 1986 before the abolition of the death penalty by former President Dawda .K. Jawara’s government, the eldest inmate is 84 years old and there are eight (8) suspected to have developed severe mental health issues. Additionally, eight (8) of the death row inmates are foreign nationals, namely; three (3) Senegalese, one (1) Bissau Guinean, two (2) Malians and two (Nigerians).
Given that the Gambia Government uses the death penalty and other harsh sentences as a tool to silence political dissent and opposition, CSAG believes that any execution is a further indicator of the brutality with which President Jammeh’s regime is bent on crushing political dissent.
We call on all Gambian civil society groups, political parties and religious leaders to join CSAG in condemning the threats of execution, and to take all the necessary actions to ensure that the Gambian regime does not proceed with its intention to execute innocent prisoners.
The Gambia is a party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), which in 2008 adopted a resolution calling on Member States to observe a moratorium on the execution of death sentences with a view to abolishing capital punishment, therefore CSAG calls on ECOWAS, the African Union and Governments of other neighboring countries, in particular Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Nigeria whose nationals are also on death row in The Gambia, to pressurize the Gambia Government to withdraw from its decision to execute condemned prisoners. We also call on the Governments of these nationals to take the Gambia Government to task and work on modalities to ensure that their citizens are not executed in The Gambia.
CSAG calls on the development partners of the Government of the Gambia, in particular, the European Union, British Government and all other development partners of The Gambia with diplomatic presence in the country, to take a position on this unfortunate development.
Attached is an exhaustive list of death row inmates in Gambia’s notorious Mile Two Central Prisons.