Why Yahya Jammeh and Co should be prosecuted

Monday, January 23, 2017

The amnesty deal given to Jammeh reads:  "No legislative measures" would be taken that would infringe the "dignity, security, safety and rights" of Jammeh or his family, it said, noting that he could return when he pleased and that property "lawfully" belonging to him would not be seized.

Now that we know the content of the Amnesty given to dictator (former) president Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia; Gambians are left with no option but to dig into the past of the dictator and his co who allegedly have committed a lot of crime against humanity to get ready for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and his eventual prosecution.

Gambians and other stakeholders should be encouraged with what the new president Adama Barrow already told the press in Senegal on Saturday 21st January 2017; that he will launch a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the alleged human rights abuses of Yahya Jammeh's 22-year regime.

When asked when Jammeh faces court hearings "Before you can act, you have to get the truth, to get the facts together." Said President Barrow

At last Yahya Jammeh who claimed to have loved the Gambia so much, flew out of the Gambian territory on the 21st January 2017, gone into exile just like any other dictator. Yes he may have gone but not scot free of all the atrocities allegedly committed by him and his regime.

The tentacles of the law are long enough to get Jammeh anywhere he may have gone regardless of whatever amnesty given.

 Experts already set some light on the said amnesty document as not legally binding and would be left to the interpretation of the new government.

To quote dictator Jammeh himself he recently referred to the constitution of our land as not casted in stone; if a constitution is not cast in stone how about a mere Amnesty?

Knowing what he has done in terms of crime against humanity, Jammeh chooses Equatorial Guinea to begin his new life in exile as that country is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court, meaning Jammeh would not be extradited in the event he was charged with crimes against humanity or other serious offences.

Jammeh, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, insisted that his rule was ordained by Allah. After his election loss, he declared that "only Allah" could make him leave.

Human rights groups have long accused Jammeh of arresting, jailing and killing political opponents,

Senegal has three former presidents one late and two surviving and they have not gone on exile as all were democrats. The Gambia now have two former presidents one democrat and another a dictator (Jammeh) and just fled the country.

In the sub-region Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra leaon also have former presidents all of who are enjoying some degree of liberty and freedom in their countries. There is always life after presidency as said by one former Nigerian president. Why not  Yahya Jammeh?

From 1994 to 2017, Former president Jammeh and his APRC regime did commit a lot of crime against humanity. Off course that maybe the reasons why he cannot live the life of a former president in a country he ruled for 22 years.

Here are just a few crimes remembered by the author of this piece said to be committed by Jammeh and his regime.

 The 1996 attack on the UDP convoy at the Denton Bridge where some of his opponents were mercilessly beaten; among the victims was the late Sedia Sanyang an executive of UDP and Butay Boye former UDP drummer and many others.

Some of the living witness to that unfortunate incident is Lamin Waa Juwara who was one time propaganda secretary of the opposition UDP and later serves the dictator as Governor and Local Government minister. He was later jailed by Jammeh’s regime after they fell apart.

The 2000 April 10/11 massacre of poor students, by Jammeh and his regime is also one of the many crimes against humanity.  The students who were only peacefully demonstrating asking for the release of their colleague who was   held at the Brikama police station for no good reason. Live bullets were fired at them and Allah alone knows how many of our armed less children lost their lives.

The 2006/7 clamp down on the press is also one among many such clamp downs on the press where in some cases 2 journalists lost their lives and many newspaper houses were shot down. These hard hitting approach meted out to the press is one thing that characterizes the Jammeh regime from the beginning to the end.

Late Deyda Hydara editor and publisher of the Point newspaper was shot and killed on the 16th December 2004. In July 2017 Ebrima Chief Manneh a journalist that worked for the pro- government newspaper got disappeared and up to date, he is missing death or alive no one has a clue. In this piece I assumed him death and the reason for saying 2 journalist lost their lives.

In November 2006 the Independent newspaper was shot down and its entire staff briefly detained and questioned at the Police Intervention station Kanifing for only being a critical newspaper.

Among the staff its General manager Madi M.K.Ceesay (Author) and Editor-in-Chief Musa Saidykhan who later had to flee and now living in the USA and a reporter Lamin Fatty who also has since flee and living in Senegal were taken to the NIA where the three were tortured by the Jammeh regime under the eye of the NIA operatives.

The closures of several radio stations such as Teranga, Capital, Radio One, Citizen FM, Paradise, and other newspapers such as the Daily News, Independent newspaper, Standard newspaper and the Citizen newspaper are just few among them. Some them were later reopened and others still remain close during the APRC regime; though that is history now.

The journalists arrested and some among them subjected to tortures are; Madi M.K.Ceesay, Musa Saidykhan, Demba Jawo, Sam Obi, Baba Galleh Jallow, Yero Jallow, Bakary Fatty, Lamin Manga, Musa Sheriff, Pap Saine, Same Sarr, Pa Modou Faal, Emil Touray, and Sarata Jabbi, list not exhausted.

 On April 14 a group of 19 opposition UDP militants went on a peaceful demonstration and they were met with uncalled for police intervention. All were arrested and subjected to tortures and rapes resulting into the death of Solo Sandeng the alleged leader of the peaceful demonstration.

April 16 2016 Ousainou Darboe leader and Secretary General of the opposition UDP and his executive took to the streets on a peaceful demonstrations demanding the release of the arrested militants and that of the body of late Solo Sandeng again they were met with a stiff security intervention arresting all of them with force resulting to bodily harm to the all of them including women. Solo Kuromah also died in prison.

All members of these groups were later prosecuted and sentence to a three year jail terms; and they stayed in prison for 8 months until in December when the oppositions won the election. The group got their freedom since then.

On May 9th 2016; another group of 45 fans of the imprison oppositions militants and their executives were also arrested tortured. Like the previous groups they were tried and send to jail for three years but all got their freedom after the opposition coalition won the December elections.

This and many other crimes committed are enough to be prosecuted for what Yahya and the APRC regime did. If there are any other those somebody somewhere knows that this author did not know please write to media.agenda@yahoo.co.uk.

Author: Madi M.K.Ceesay
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