The president of The Gambia, a small West African state primarily centered around a river of the same name, said that all death row inmates will be executed next month. There has not been a single execution in The Gambia since 1985, to the extent that Amnesty International classified The Gambia as a de facto abolitionist state.
President Yahya Jammeh said that crimes including drug trafficking, drug use, murder, terrorism, banditry, and others will not be tolerated, and those who commit them should be executed, AFP reported citing remarks he made on national TV.
“By the middle of next month, all the death sentences would have been carried out to the letter; there is no way my government will allow 99 percent of the population to be held to ransom by criminals,” Jammeh said, according to AFP, which cited local television.
Amnesty International called on Jammeh to retract his decision.
“Any attempt to carry out this threat would be both deeply shocking and a major set-back for human rights in Gambia,” Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International said in a release.
Jammeh, who took power in a military coup in 1994, is a controversial figure and many human rights groups have panned his administration. In 2007, he controversially claimed he could cure AIDS and asthma with natural herbs, and said if possible, he would rule for “one billion years.”
In 2009, Jammeh announced executions would resume in The Gambia, but to date, none have been carried out.
Amnesty says that according to reports from Gambian government, as of the last day of 2011, there were 44 people on death row, including two women.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.