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August 25, 2012

Gambia gets real serious about carrying out death sentences real fast

Gambia-mapAs reported in this AP article, the African country of Gambia has just completed nine executions and it gearing up for dozens more. Here are the details:

Gambia has executed nine convicted criminals, the Civil Society Associations reported Saturday as Amnesty International warned that dozens more on death-row are under imminent threat as the West African nation carries out its first death sentences in 27 years.

President Yaya Jammeh vowed earlier this month to execute all inmates sentenced to death "to ensure that criminals get what they deserve, that is, those who killed are killed and those who deserve to be put away from the society are put away from the society in accordance with the law."

A government statement issued late Friday night said "All persons on death row have been tried by the Gambian courts of competent jurisdiction and thereof convicted and sentenced to death in accordance with the law. They have exhausted all their legal rights of appeal as provided by the law."

It added "the peace and stability of our beloved nation as regards to protection of the lives, liberty and property of individuals must at all cost be preserved and jealously guarded."

Eight men and one woman were removed from their prison cells Friday night and executed, London-based Amnesty reported, quoting "credible sources." It said two of those executed are believed to be foreigners from Senegal.

A barrage of protests met the move, with expressions of shock coming from the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the French and Nigerian governments and human rights groups. It was not clear how the prisoners were executed, but Gambia's constitution says executions should be by hanging. "What is however clear is that inmates were rounded up at 9.30 p.m. Thursday August 23 and that by the morning of August 24, the bodies were actually lying in the Mile Two Prison yard," the Civil Society Associations of Gambia reported.

Amnesty warned "more persons are under threat of imminent executions today and in the coming days." Amnesty said the executions are the first in Gambia since 1987. Gambia reinstated the death penalty in 1995 but had not executed anyone, former minister Omar Jallow has told The Associated Press.

Amnesty said there were 47 inmates on death row before Friday's executions: government figures put the number at 42 men and two women and another three men reportedly also received the death sentence this year.

Capital punishment can be imposed in Gambia for murder and treason. Three of those reportedly executed had been sentenced for treason, Amnesty said. It's not known how many of those on death row have been sentenced for alleged coup-plotting, a treasonable offense that could indicate Jammeh is using the executions to get rid of political opponents.

Perhaps those deeply troubled by how California officials have handled its (now seemingly dormant) death penalty lately ought to try to get officials in Gambia to give some instructions to capital punishment colleagues on a very different west coast.

August 25, 2012 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I think we should take all our human rights advice from third world autocracies, personally. That pesky constitution just gets in the way of Justice.

Posted by: Guy | Aug 25, 2012 1:58:59 PM

Clever, Doc.

Posted by: anon | Aug 25, 2012 2:06:43 PM

Guy --

"That pesky constitution just gets in the way of Justice."

Actually, it doesn't, which is why it allows the death penalty, see Gregg, Baze.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 26, 2012 10:09:27 PM

Bill --

I could be mistaken, but I believe the relevant consideration here, and the tongue-firmly-in-cheek post from Doug, is not the allowance of the death penalty at all, but the relative alacrity with which it is carried out.

Cheers.

Posted by: Guy | Aug 27, 2012 11:18:50 AM

"Death Penalty, Still Racist and Arbitrary"

Posted by: Adamakis | Aug 27, 2012 3:53:30 PM

Capital punishment can be imposed in Gambia for murder and treason. Three of those reportedly executed had been sentenced for treason, Amnesty said. It's not known how many of those on death row have been sentenced for alleged coup-plotting, a treasonable offense that could indicate Jammeh is using the executions to get rid of political opponents.

Posted by: luxury apartments london | Nov 13, 2012 7:00:29 AM

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