Senegal, CDD, condemn Gambia over executions

Various condemnations have followed the execution of prisoners in Gambia.By Ogechi Ekeanyanwu with agency report

Wide spread condemnations have continued to trail the Gambia’s decision to execute prisoners on its death row.

There are currently 47 persons on Gambia death row, and in a national broadcast to celebrate Eid el Fitri, Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh, vowed to kill all 47 of them.

According to Amnesty International, on August 23, nine persons were secretly executed.

The Prime Minister of Senegal, Abdoul Mbaye, confirmed that two of its nationals were among the prisoners executed.

Mr. Mbaye, summoned the Gambian High Commissioner in Dakar, Mass Gueye, to express Senegal’s disapproval over the execution of two of its nationals in the Gambia.

In a statement, Mr. Mbaye reminded the Gambian diplomat of Gambia’s obligation to comply with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

Under the Vienna Convention, Gambia is obliged to provide all the relevant information on the conditions of conviction and execution of the death row inmates to original countries.

Mr. Mbaye, bemoaned the lack of transparency that surrounded the executions, and asked Mr. Jammeh of Gambia to halt further executions.

In a similar vein, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) condemned Gambia’s execution of prisoners.

The civil society group in a statement, called on the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to ensure that Gambia is held accountable for disregarding human right laws and its obligation to the African charter to refrain from the use of death penalty.

“This execution also violates the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the inviolable rights to life and dignity of human person as encapsulated in its Article 4 and 5 of the Charter,” the organisation said.

The CDD noted that it is unconstitutional for the Gambian government to execute the prisoners in the manner it did, adding that the Gambian constitution holds that “death sentence shall not be imposed for any offence unless the sentence is prescribed by law and the offence involves violence, or the administration of any toxic substance, resulting in the death of another person”.

The Gambia’s constitution also holds that the law as regards execution must be reviewed in fifteen years, “However the law has yet to be reviewed fifteen years into passage”, CDD Said.

The organization called on Gambia and other African states that still impose the death penalty to abolish it and follow the trend in the African Union.

It urged ECOWAS to immediately stop Gambian president’s execution plans and sympathized with the affected persons.

“CDD wishes to express its compassion to all the people affected. We also reiterate our readiness to work together with all human rights groups and organizations in the West African region and globally to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all Gambians and West African Nationals,” the group said.


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