‘Free ex-Minister Janneh from Jail’
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Global human rights watchdog, Amnesty, today renewed calls for The Gambian authorities to free jailed-former Gambian Information Minister, Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh.
In January this year, the High Court in Banjul imposed a life sentence on Dr Janneh. He was found guilty of sedition and treason when he printed and distributed T-shirts calling for an end to the dictatorship in The Gambia.
In a campaign marking its annual Day of Action, Amnesty International said Dr Janneh ‘must be freed’.
Ayodele Ameen, Amnesty International’s Gambia campaigner said: “Dr Janneh is a prisoner of conscience and is emblematic of the horrific human rights situation that prevails in the Gambia today.
“President Yahya Jammeh’s government continues to show a zero-tolerance attitude to any form of criticism …
“The blatant disregard for human rights in The Gambia continues as earlier this year President Jammeh gave instructions to the security forces including the Inspector General of Police, to ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ in an attempt to rid the country of ‘armed robbers.”
According to Amnesty International, such a hard-handed crackdown on criminal activity would lead to further human rights violations.
“The police and other security forces have a duty to protect lives and property and uphold the rule of law,” ,” said Ameen. “They must do so in a professional and responsible manner that promotes and protects human rights of all individuals, including the rights of criminals and alleged criminals.”
Amnesty International has documented a wide range of human rights violations in The Gambia including enforced disappearances that are yet to be resolved and unlawful killings.
“The dire human rights situation in The Gambia and the restriction on freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly makes President Jammeh’s self-proclaimed ‘freedom day’ laughable,” said Ameen.
“The Gambia must stop making a mockery of its international and regional human rights obligations and ensure the human rights of all people in the country are respected, protected and fulfilled.”