Found on Reprieve.org.uk/blog/ or Click here for August 29-30 2012
After 27 years without a single execution in The Gambia President Yahya Jammeh brought that time to an unhappy end with the execution of seven Gambian citizens and 2 Senegalese citizens in a firing range. The executions were carried out on Eid al-Fitr, a day of celebration, love and peace in the Muslim faith.
The death penalty was abolished in Gambia by the former President Dawda Jawara but was then reinstated by the current President, Yahya Jammeh. In a broadcast President Jammeh made on Sunday 26th August he said that he would execute the other 38 convicts waiting on death row before the middle of September. This caused outrage in the rest of Africa and round the world. Christof Heyns, the United Nations special reporter on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary said, ‘I strongly condemn the executions that took place last week in the Gambia, and call for a halt to further executions… This stream of executions is a major step backwards for the country, and for the protection of the right to life in the world as a whole.’ It was not clear what the charges against the nine executed were but many were former officials and top military officers who had been detained for treason when President Jammeh took power in 1994 by a military coup.
The President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathon has called for a stop to the executions and for other Africa countries to ‘respond’ to President Jammeh’s execution schedule as he fears they ‘would mean genocide of Africa.’ It is obvious that these executions have caused a stir but will they be a turning point for Africa as the President of Nigeria has predicted? Or will President Jammeh stop the planned executions and will Gambia retreat back to being one of the only peaceful and stable nations in Africa as she was before?