Gambia: Human Rights Violations in 2012

Human Rights Violations in 2012

* indicates an incident related to freedom of expression

Extrajudicial Killings: 1 recorded incident

Incident Details

  1. On August 28, 2012, the government announced it had executed nine prisoners—Dawda Bojang; Malang Sonko; Ex-Lieutenant Lamin Jarjou; Ex-Lieutenant Alieu Bah; Ex-Sergeant Lamin F. Jammeh; Buba Yarboe; Lamin B.S Darboe; Gebe Bah and Tabara Samba—at Mile 2 Prison. Two of the executed prisoners were Senegalese, one of them a woman. Three others—Lamin Jarjou, Alieu Bah, and Lamin F. Jammeh—were reported political prisoners. One prisoner, Lamin Darboe, was serving a commuted life sentence and thus should not have been executed.

List of Named Victims of Extrajudicial Killings

  1. Dawda Bojang
  2. Malang Sonko
  3. Lamin Jarjou
  4. Alieu Bah
  5. Lamin F. Jammeh
  6. Buba Yarboe
  7. Lamin B.S Darboe
  8. Gebe Bah
  9. Tabara Samba

Enforced Disappearances: 0 recorded incidents

Torture or Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: 5 recorded incidents

Incident Details

  1. On March 3, 2012, a group of military officers severely beat Demba Sidibeh (alias Pa Boy) of Bakau New Town, sending him into a coma for nearly six hours. Demba had been protesting security officers’ treatment of football fans who had heckled and stoned the national squad after their defeat in a match with Algeria.
  2. On June 11, 2012, a Nigerian national, Michael Ifunaya, who was on trial for involvement in the alleged murder of a British national, was tortured by the police to obtain statements. He was burned by police officer Fansu Sowe with cigarettes and the police also police beat his head and face with a flat hard object after tightly handcuffing his arms and legs.
  3. On June 15, 2012, outspoken Muslim cleric Imam Bakawsu Fofana was detained for nine days without charge and severely tortured by the NIA. He may have been arrested due to his involvement in a long-running verbal dispute with Imam Abdoulie Fatty, the head of the State House mosque. He was beaten with sticks and heavy pipes, slapped in the face, and punched. On at least one night, officers filmed the torture session. The imam was reported to have fled to Senegal.
  4. On October 16, 2012, a prisoner named Amadou Faal (also known as Njagga) lost an eye due to severe beatings by prison officials.
  5. On December 3, 2012, two National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers arrested and detained Imam Baba Leigh, the only religious leader who openly condemned the execution of nine death row prisoners in late August. He had described the executions as “un-Islamic” and urged the government to return the bodies to the families for proper burial. He was beaten for several hours over ten days, including with batons, cables and whips. One night, NIA agents threw him in a hole and poured sand up to his chest to simulate burying him alive. He was held in a small filthy room full of rats and spiders for five months. Family members and lawyers repeatedly were denied access to him. He was released in May 2013.

List of Named Victims of Torture

  1. Demba Sidibeh
  2. Michael Ifunaya
  3. Bakawsu Fofana
  4. Amadou Faal (also known as Njagga)
  5. Baba Leigh

Arbitrary Arrests or Detention: 8 recorded incidents

Incident Details

  1. *On January 9, 2012, Mamadou S. Jallow, a reporter for the privately-owned Daily News, was arrested and detained for about five hours at the Bansanng police station in Brikamaba. He was charged on January 9 following an article he wrote headlined “Presidential Hajj Package Scandal: Chief Baldeh Allegedly Bribes Lover,” which appeared on the front-page of the Daily News newspaper on January 4, 2012.
  2. On June 15, 2012, outspoken Muslim cleric Imam Bakawsu Fofana was detained for nine days without charge and severely tortured by the NIA. He may have been arrested due to his involvement in a long-running verbal dispute with Imam Abdoulie Fatty, the head of the State House mosque.
  3. *On June 20, 2012, police detained Abdul Hamid Adiamoh, managing editor of privately-owned Today newspaper, on the orders of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for alleged contempt of court. He was released on June 28 after paying a heavy fine.
  4. *On July 10, 2012, Sidiq Asemota, senior legal correspondent for the Daily Observer, was arrested and detained on unknown charges. His arrest was likely related to a June 9 story titled “Two sentenced for forgery” about the sentencing of two Gambian nationals for white collar crimes.
  5. On October 31, 2012, police arrested and detained former government minister Mambury Njie for days without charge before releasing him on bail. Njie, as minister of foreign affairs, had reportedly advised against the executions of death row prisoners on August 28, 2012. He was dismissed shortly afterwards.
  6. On December 3, 2012, two National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers arrested and detained Imam Baba Leigh, the only religious leader who openly condemned the execution of nine death row prisoners in late August. He had described the executions as “un-Islamic” and urged the government to return the bodies to the families for proper burial. He was beaten for several hours over ten days, including with batons, cables and whips. One night, NIA agents threw him in a hole and poured sand up to his chest to simulate burying him alive.  Family members and lawyers repeatedly were denied access to him. He was released in May 2013.
  7. On December 3, 2012, authorities arrested prominent lawyer and former president of the Gambia Bar Association, Amie Bensouda, for trying to obtain court judgments for a land governance assessment framework project for the World Bank. Police held her incommunicado for two days before releasing her. Her arrest coincided with the arrest of Imam Baba Leigh.
  8. *On December 9, 2012, journalist Abdoulie John, the Banjul editor of the online newspaper Jollof News and Associated Press correspondent, was arrested by the NIA at an event marking the release of eight Senegalese security personnel captured by the Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MFDC). John was arrested after an argument with a State House photographer who questioned his authorization to be at the event. John was held for one night and released after signing a bail bond for 50,000 dalasi (US$1,470) and relinquishing his travel documents.

List of Named Victims of Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

  1. *Mamadou S. Jallow
  2. *Abdul Hamid Adiamoh
  3. *Sidiq Asemota
  4. Bakawsu Fofana
  5. Baba Leigh
  6. Mambury Njie
  7. Amie Bensouda
  8. *Abdoulie John

Freedom of Expression Violations: 9 recorded incidents

Incident Details

  1. *On January 9, 2012, Mamadou S. Jallow, a reporter for the privately-owned Daily News, was arrested and detained for about five hours at the Bansanng police station in Brikamaba. He was charged on January 9 following an article he wrote headlined “Presidential Hajj Package Scandal: Chief Baldeh Allegedly Bribes Lover,” which appeared on the front-page of the Daily News newspaper on January 4, 2012.
  2. *On June 20, 2012, police detained Abdul Hamid Adiamoh, managing editor of privately-owned Today newspaper, on the orders of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for alleged contempt of court. He was released on June 28 after paying a heavy fine.
  3. *On July 10, 2012, Sidiq Asemota, senior legal correspondent for the Daily Observer, was arrested and detained on unknown charges. His arrest was likely related to a June 9 story titled “Two sentenced for forgery” about the sentencing of two Gambian nationals for white collar crimes.
  4. *On August 14, 2012, NIA officers stormed the studios of a community radio station, Taranga FM in the village of Sinchu Alhaji, and ordered the proprietor, Ismaila Ceesay, to shut down the station. They also demanded the names and telephone numbers of the members of the station’s board of directors as well as the station’s operational license. The NIA officers gave no reason for the closure, but the action came only days after the station carried a lengthy interview with outspoken opposition politician Omar Jallow. This was the third time that Taranga FM was forced to cease operation.
  5. *On September 14, 2012, three NIA officers led by Officer Modou Ceesay ordered the editors of the independent newspapers The Daily News and The Standard to cease publication immediately without providing a reason. The newspapers believe they were targeted for the extensive coverage they gave to the execution of nine death row prisoners in August 2012, including interviews, letters from readers, and public statements opposing and supporting the executions.
  6. *On October 16, 2012, journalists Binta Bah of The Daily News and Sainey Marenah of The Standard newspaper were removed from a Banjul courtroom where they were to cover the appeal case of former general Lang Tombong Tamba and others involved in an earlier plot to overthrow the government. NIA officers at the court said the two journalists could not cover the proceedings because their newspapers were barred from publishing.
  7. *On December 9, 2012, journalist Abdoulie John, the Banjul editor of the online newspaper JollofNews and Associated Press correspondent, was arrested by the NIA at an event marking the release of eight Senegalese security personnel captured by the Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MFDC). John was arrested after an argument with a State House photographer who questioned his authorization to be at the event. John was held for one night and released after signing a bail bond for 50,000 dalasi (US$1,470) and relinquishing his travel documents.
  8. *Internet users were unable to access the websites of foreign online newspapers Freedom, The Gambia Echo, Hello Gambia, and Jollof News, which criticized the government.
  9. *Two newspapers, The Standard and The Daily News, were banned in 2012.

List of Named Victims of Freedom of Expression Violations

  1. *Mamadou S. Jallow
  2. *Abdul Hamid Adiamoh
  3. *Sidiq Asemota
  4. *Binta Bah
  5. *Sainey Marenah
  6. *Abdoulie John

List of Named Victims in 2012

  1. Dawda Bojang
  2. Malang Sonko
  3. Lamin Jarjou
  4. Alieu Bah
  5. Lamin F. Jammeh
  6. Buba Yarboe
  7. Lamin B.S Darboe
  8. Gebe Bah
  9. Tabara Samba
  10. Demba Sidibeh
  11. Michael Ifunaya
  12. Bakawsu Fofana
  13. Amadou Faal (also known as Njagga)
  14. Baba Leigh
  15. Mambury Njie
  16. Amie Bensouda
  17. *Mamadou S. Jallow
  18. *Abdul Hamid Adiamoh
  19. *Sidiq Asemota
  20. *Binta Bah
  21. *Sainey Marenah
  22. *Abdoulie John

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