As UDP Leader Shames Indemnity Law

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The Late Journalist Omar Barrow

The leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party is convinced that the backdated Indemnity Act has woefully failed slain student victims of the April 2000 massacre. Rights activists described the law that exonerated the bloody hands of Gambian security forces as “an assault on human rights, justice and the rule of law.”

Lawyer Ousainou’ Darboe’s comments come as Gambians mark the 14th anniversary of the cold-blood massacre of innocent and unarmed 13 students and a journalist, Omar Barrow, on April 10 and 11. Trigger-happy security forces shot and killed Mr. Barrow while covering the student protest in Kanifing. The murders occurred as Gambian students, under the auspices of the Gambia Students Union (GAMSU), were protesting against the mistreatment of their colleagues in Brikama and Brikamaba.

Both the Coroner’s Inquest and inquiry commission into the events blamed the security forces for the murders, which all resulted from gunshot wounds. Instead of prosecuting the suspects, the Jammeh regime used its numerical strength in parliament to indemnify the murderers, leaving the families and friends of the victims in pain and hopelessness.

Mr. Darboe said Gambians “will always remember April 10 and 11 as the days when innocent blood was spilled on the streets of Serekunda and elsewhere.”

He said “there have been many atrocities in our once peaceful and quiet land, but that of April 10 and 11, is unmatched in terms of the young lives wasted and the lack of justice that followed,” the lawyer politician said. “Every civilised country relies on the criminal justice system for redress in terms of enormous criminal acts like the one perpetuated on April 10/11 2000. The law has virtually failed the slain victims. It is comical to indemnify those who gave the command to shoot and those who actually pulled the trigger. We will all have to live with the burden of this unfaithful event,” Darboe told Kairo News.

The veteran human rights lawyer said there will be a proper redress for the victims in the event of a change of government.  “There is no doubt about that; the culprits can only be protected under a government unwilling to dispense justice. Gambians are keeping records of all the criminal violence that the people have experienced. Don’t have any doubt about that, justice shall one day be done.”

Mr. Darboe extended heartfelt condolences to the all the bereaved families of the student carnage. “The Gambia is so interconnected; all the slain victims have relations with many supporters of my party. Therefore, we cannot forget their memory; these were ambitious students, with their whole lives ahead of them. I thank Omar Joof [GAMSU President who led the April 10 and 11 student protest] for speaking out at every April 10/11 anniversary.”

Darboe reminded Gambians about the government’s disingenuous behavior when it blamed the opposition for infiltrating the protesting students. “This is a blatant untruth and a very unkind thing to do. It is extreme dishonesty to lie against the dead. And to swift blame to where it is not proper. This government has conducted themselves in the mostly cowardly way. However, Gambians should be rest assured that, justice will one day be dispensed,” he said calling for the erection of a monument for the slain victims of April 2000.

Ends

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