Gambia: Fear rules

Report
November 11, 2008

Gambia: Fear rules

This report illustrates how human rights violations in Gambia are perpetrated by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), army and police against real and perceived opponents of the government on a routine basis. It demonstrates that once people are in the custody of the government, they are susceptible to a whole range of human rights violations including unlawful detention, torture while in detention, unfair trials, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions.

This report documents human rights violations that have taken place following the March 2006 foiled coup attempt, when at least 63 perceived and real opponents were rounded up. The report also includes human rights violations that have taken place in the post coup period.

The report calls on the Gambian government: to incorporate international human rights law and standards into national law; to cease the  use of torture in detention and extra-judicial executions; to release all those detained without charge and to protect the access of all Gambians to a free and impartial judicial system.

The information in this report was gathered during field visits to Gambia in October 2007 and September 2008. Continuous monitoring of events has taken place throughout the year.

Due to the high risk of reprisals against those who have spoken to Amnesty International, many of the testimonies in this report are anonymous. Interviews with individuals were often conducted outside Gambia to ensure their safety. In a number of cases Amnesty International was not able to speak directly with those subjected to human rights violations. In October 2007, the Amnesty International researcher and campaigner and a Gambian journalist were arrested, detained and finally released unconditionally after six days without charge, on 14 October 2007.

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