Executions Epitomize Evil and Undemocratic Regime

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Dr. Janneh dressed in white outfit

Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, who was at the center of the Gambia’s August 2012 executions, said the event was “epitomized in dramatic fashion the very anatomy of evil and undemocratic regime Yahya Jammeh has cultivated and continues to nurture.”

Dr. Janneh, who spoke at the commemoration of the Gambia’s unlawful executions in Dakar, Senegal, said he was “saddened by the unfortunate events that made this commemoration necessary.” Mr. Janneh hoped “the illegal executions by the Gambian leader have galvanized us enough to fight even harder for democratic change in the country.”

Describing August 23, 2012 as a Day of Infamy, for it saw the executions of nine inmates – 8 men and a woman; 2 Senegalese nationals and a mentally-impaired prisoner, without following due process.

The mysterious executions of Lamin Darboe, Alieu Bah, Lamin Jarju, LF Jammeh, Gibril Bah, Dawda Bojang, Malang Sonko, Abubakar Yarbo, and Tabara Samba, according to Dr. Janneh, leaves the remaining 40 other death row prisoners vulnerable in a country where the exercise of power is personalized. “President Jammeh apparently determines virtually every aspect of statecraft in the country today – a classic illustration of a dictatorial regime,’ Janneh said.

At the time of the executions, Dr. Janneh was a life-termer in Mile 2 Central Prisons who took account of all those on death row immediately after President Yahya Jammeh announced his intention to execute all prisoners on death row. “Everyone at Mile II became alarmed and I decided to immediately take the names, nationalities, and other pertinent information relating to the 48 individuals on death-row, which included one woman, two Senegalese nationals, two Malians, and one Bissau-Guinean. This information was transmitted to my civil society colleagues who in turn disseminated it.

“We remained worried not knowing who amongst the death-row convicts would be executed, how, and when. Suddenly at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, 2012, a large number of security personnel entered Mile II Central Prison. The group included armed men and some carried handcuffs with leg irons. They moved from building to building, removing a total of eight male convicts and one woman from their cells, restraining them, and taking them away without any prior warning. That was the last time we saw any of them again.”

The former Information Minister said the by 9:30 PM activity in Mile 2 came to a near standstill. It was then that he quickly managed to “transmit information to my colleagues again, narrating what had just transpired. On Friday morning, August 24, 2012, inmates who worked at the prison bakery late the night before reported seeing the security contingent that extracted the death row inmates load nine large bags into unmarked pickup trucks. Some officers who were on duty overnight were visibly distraught. One senior officer even extended condolences to us on the deaths of our friends.”

The post execution, characterized by tightening of security at the Security Wing, was very traumatic. “We were confined, or sealed, in our cells for 20 hours every day and subjected to regular, intrusive searches. Ill-health became severe at a time when our minimal access to the poorly equipped prison health facility was practically stopped,” Janneh said.

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