"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life on death row: ‘They had no idea they were going to be executed’

Yahya Jammeh
Social activist and former Minister of Information, Amadou Janneh, was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2012 for printing and distributing T-shirts made by the NGO ‘Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CGG),’ calling for an end to “dictatorship” in the country. While in prison, he met many people on death row, including the nine who were executed in August 2012 – the first executions in more than three decades in The Gambia.

He shared his story with Amnesty International, from his new home in the USA:

In mid-August 2012, the President of the Gambia announced that he was going to execute all prisoners on death row. We all got very alarmed. I decided to go around and collect the names of all those on death row. They were 48 individuals, including one woman, two Senegalese nationals, two from Mali and one person from Guinea-Bissau. I put that information together and sent it out quickly and CGG published all the list of names and nationalities.

A flurry of activity started and we were hopeful, but at 9:00pm on August 23, a Thursday, a large number of security personnel entered the prison yard and took eight men and one woman and just executed them.

Nobody figured out how they selected them out of the 48. There was no prior notification. They had no idea they were going to be executed. While they were being taken away, one of them screamed my name saying: “Amadou, I’m going to be executed tonight”.

Then the silence came.

Source: Amnesty International, April 18, 2013

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