Kibaaro News has just confirmed that Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh and Tamsir Jassey were pardoned by President Yahya Jammeh on Monday. Both men will be flown to the United States with Civil Rights Leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“It will be a special joy to be able to bring two Americans back home to their families,” Rev. Jackson told Fox News.
Both men are Gambian-Americans. Dr. Janneh, a University of Tennessee Professor and former Minister of Information and Communication, was serving a life in prison term. Mr. Jassey, an Operation Desert Storm veteran and Gambia’s Director of Immigration, is serving a 20-year jail term.
United States Embassy officials were reported to have been preparing the papers of the pardoned prisoners who will be formerly released on Tuesday. Their release was negotiated by Rev. Jackson who is currently on a tour in the Gambia. The Civil Rights Activist traveled to Banjul to urge President Yahya Jammeh to halt execution of death row inmates.
“There were 46 people on death row. Nine were summarily executed by the firing squad. Thirty-seven were scheduled to die imminently,” Jackson said. Mr. Jackson’s organization Rainbow/Push intervened on humanitarian grounds. “I am delighted that their lives have been spared,” he said.
Janneh and three others were sentenced to life on January 17 after the Special Criminal Court in the capital Banjul found them guilty of treason charges. The former Minister and co were arrested over the distribution of T-shirts calling for an end to dictatorship in the Gambia.
The four convicts, Dr. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow and Michael Uche Thomas (died in prison in July), were also ordered to serve their prison terms with hard labour.
The four were arrested in June 2011 after distributing T-shirts made by the Coalition for Change the Gambia (CCG), which featured the slogan “End to Dictatorship Now.”
Activists described Dr. Janneh as “a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally.”
Mr. Jassey’s conviction resulted after the court found him guilty of conspiring in the March 21, 2006 purported coup masterminded by the former Army Chief of Staff, Col. Ndure Cham.
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