Two American citizens serving long prison sentences for treason in Gambia will return to the United States Tuesday night after the Rev. Jesse Jackson made a face-to-face appeal for their release to President Yahya Jammeh.
In a separate concession, Jammeh agreed to halt indefinitely dozens of executions he had originally planned to carry out by mid September, according to Jackson's non-profit Rainbow Push Coalition.
The tiny West African nation last executed an inmate about 30 years ago, but in August the president announced he would have all death row prisoners put to death - 47 in total.
The pronouncement sparked the outrage of human rights activists around the world and was the catalyst for Jackson's trip "to plead for mercy."
The freed Americans were not on death row.
One them, Amadou Scattred Janneh, was serving a life sentence for printing and distributing T-shirts critical of Jammeh, according to Amnesty International. The T-shirts bore the slogan "End Dictatorship Now."
Janneh once served as Gambia's minister of information, and also taught at the University of Tennessee.
The second man, Tamsir Jasseh, who served in the U.S. military during Operation Desert Storm, was serving a 20-year sentence for his role in a failed coup against the president.FULL STORY