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Gambia: Rights group condemns widespread torture

last updated Jul 26, 2011

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) released a report which criticises the widespread practice of torture in Gambia. The report was published in advance of so-called Freedom Day (22 July) which marks the day President Yayha Jammeh came to power in a bloodless coup in 1994. 17 years later, the country is still ruled by the authoritarian Jammeh and all forms of protests are suppressed by the government.

Gambian President Yayha Jammeh
Gambian President Yayha Jammeh; Source: JohnArmagh (en.wikipedia)

Enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings remain a serious problem in the country, according to AI. Especially journalists and opposition party members are frequently subjected to torture. In June, four activists were arrested and charged with treason, a crime which carries the death penalty in Gambia. The AI report says that security personnel often kill students, journalists and foreign nationals in order to get rid of suspected coup plotters, a practice that is further encouraged by widespread impunity.

Gambia is the smallest country on African mainland. Elections will be held on 24 November but it seems inevitable that Jammeh will remain in power since most of the opposition politicians were pushed out of the country. Jammeh has said that his victory in the elections is “a foregone conclusion”.

AI (2011) Report: "Climate of Fear Continues - Enforced Disappearances, Killings and Torture in Gambia"

AFP: Rights groups slam abuses in Gambia

VoA: Amnesty: Torture Widespread in Gambia After 17 Years of Jammeh

Gambia country profile