Annual Report: Gambia 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Gambia 2010

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  • Daily Observer journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh, who was arrested in 2006, remained disappeared despite a 2008 ruling by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice demanding his release and damages for his family. In October, the government denied any knowledge of his whereabouts.
  • The government continued to deny knowledge of the whereabouts of Kanyiba Kanyie, an opposition supporter arrested in September 2006.

Unlawful killings

In April, a team established by ECOWAS and the UN reported on the killing in July 2005 of more than 50 foreign nationals, most from Ghana, who were intercepted by Gambian security forces in the sea off Gambia. The report established that Gambian security forces were involved but not under government directive. The government contributed towards the funeral expenses of six Ghanaians whose bodies were found, but took no steps to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.

Death penalty

In September, the President announced that executions would resume to counter rising crime; the last known execution was in the 1980s. In October, the Director of Public Prosecutions was reported as saying that all prisoners sentenced to death would be executed by hanging as soon as possible.

One person was sentenced to death and at least 12 people were believed to be on death row at the end of the year. No executions were reported.

  • In August, Kalilou Conteh was sentenced to death by Banjul magistrate's court for murder.

Human rights defenders

On 21 September, the President reportedly threatened to kill anyone wishing to destabilize the country and specifically threatened human rights defenders and those working with them. As a result, international organizations and members of Gambia's civil society boycotted the session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights held in the Gambia in November. Two UN Special Rapporteurs and one Rapporteur serving with the African Commission condemned the President's remarks as unacceptable and in breach of all human rights instruments ratified by Gambia.

Amnesty International visit/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited Gambia in November to conduct research.

Gambia: Amnesty International demands freedom for Gambians (15 July 2009)
Gambia: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (1 September 2009)
Gambia: Amnesty International expresses solidarity with civil society in Gambia (13 November 2009)
Gambia: Hundreds accused of "witchcraft" and poisoned in government campaign (18 March 2009)
Gambia: Six journalists condemned to two years in Mile 2 prison (7 August 2009)