JammehBy Abdoulie John

The United Nations on Thursday expressed deep concerns over the verdict handed down by the secret court-martial sentencing to death three people linked with the December 30th failed coup in The Gambia.

The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was deeply concerned about the death sentences apparently imposed last week by a military tribunal in The Gambia against three people accused of participating in an attempted coup last December. Rupert Colville was also worried about the fate of three other attackers sentenced to life imprisonment by the same secret court-martial. The government’s decision to conduct the court-martial in secret runs contrary to both The Gambia’s Constitution and Armed Forces Act that its proceedings should be held in public.

Colville questioned the impartiality of the whole judicial proceedings, “particularly in relation to the provision of adequate legal representation, which is also guaranteed under the
Constitution.”

“We hope that the six detainees will be allowed to appeal, as is their right, and we call upon the Gambian Government to maintain its moratorium on the use of the death penalty.” Gambia continues to turn a deaf ear to calls made by civil society groups to improve its human rights record.

Many observers believe there is little chance or no chance that The Gambia government will change its defiance to out the death sentences. Despite public outrage, President Yahya Jammeh decided to carry out the execution of 9 death row inmates in 2012, insisting that “I will drink alcohol and drink pork if I don’t carry out the death sentences.”

Ends

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