Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

Africa

Gambia begins mass death row executions, says Amnesty

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-08-25

Gambia executed nine death row prisoners overnight Thursday and more will take place in the coming days, Amnesty International warned Friday. President Yahya Jammeh (pictured) vowed last week to carry out all death sentences by mid-September.

AFP - Amnesty International on Friday said that Gambia had executed nine death row prisoners, after President Yahya Jammeh vowed to carry out all death sentences by mid-September.

"Amnesty International has received credible reports that nine persons were executed last night (Thursday) in Gambia and that more persons are under threat of imminent executions today and in the coming days," the rights body said in a statement.

A Gambian security source reported that all 47 death row prisoners had on Thursday night been "transferred to one place" but he and other sources could not confirm the executions.

"The man is determined to execute the prisoners and he will do so," the security source told AFP, referring to President Jammeh.

The president's office said in a statement late Friday that the people on death row "have exhausted all their legal rights of appeal as provided by the law" -- without, however, confirming the nine executions.

"The law of the Gambia on the death penalty is very clear. In due compliance with the law of the Gambia, all the persons on the death row have been tried by the Gambian courts of competence jurisdictions and therefore convicted to death," the statement said.

"Also, in accordance with the law, these people have exhausted all their legal rights of appeal as provided by the law."

In a televised address to mark this year's Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr on Sunday Jammeh said: "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."

According to Amnesty those executed include one woman and two of them are Senegalese citizens.

FRANCE REACTS

France condemned Gambia’s decision on Tuesday in a stern declaration made by the foreign affairs ministry, calling on the president to aim instead towards a total abolition of the death penalty.

Source: AFP

"The decision of the Gambian president Yahya Jammeh to execute nine prisoners after more than a quarter of a century without execution would be a giant leap backwards", said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International's Africa deputy director.

Amnesty said the last official execution took place in 1985. However AFP's correspondent in Banjul reports that executions have continued unofficially with the most recent taking place in 2007.

Death sentences in Gambia, a sliver of land wedged into Senegal, are carried out by hanging.

Jammeh, a former military officer who seized power in a 1994 coup, brooks no dissent in a country often blasted by rights bodies for abuses.

Many top officials have found themselves charged with treason, often related to coup plots which observers have said are a sign of paranoia by Jammeh, who won a fourth term in office in November 2011.

Last year eight military top brass, including the former army and intelligence chiefs and the ex-deputy head of the police force, were sentenced to death for treason.

Amnesty urged Gambian authorities to "immediately halt any further possible executions".

The reported executions come after a lightning visit this week by an envoy of African union chief Boni Yayi, who urged President Jammeh to renounce his plans to execute all the prisoners, many of whom are political detainees.

"After having learned of the imminent execution of a number of prisoners sentenced to death, President Yayi, who is very concerned, wished that President Yahya Jammeh not carry out such a decision," Benin's Foreign Minister Nassirou Bako Arifari told Radio France Internationale late Thursday.

But the government remained undeterred.

Friday's statement said: "The general public is hereby warned that the peace and the stability of the Gambia as regard of the protection of life, liberty and property of individuals must at all costs be preserved and jealously guarded. This is the position of the Gambia Government."

Date created : 2012-08-25

  • Africa

    Gambia's president retains power in 'unfair' elections

    Read more

  • GAMBIA

    Gambia jails eight foreigners for drug trafficking

    Read more

  • GAMBIA

    Gambia coup plotters sentenced to death

    Read more

COMMENT(S)