August 28th, 2012
10:45 AM ET

U.N. slams 'stream of executions' in Gambia

The United Nations Tuesday urged the tiny West African country of Gambia to refrain from executing 39 more death-row inmates, after nine others were recently put to death.

"I strongly condemn the executions that took place last week in the Gambia, and call for a halt to further executions," said Christof Heyns, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. "This stream of executions is a major step backwards for the country, and for the protection of the right to life in the world as a whole."

The country once had been at the forefront in the region's efforts to abolish in law and practice the death penalty, with a moratorium on the death penalty for 27 years and the abolition of capital punishment for drug offenses in April 2011, Heyns said.

In fact, the sliver of a nation - surrounded by Senegal and bordering the Atlantic Ocean - had last executed a prisoner about 30 years ago.

But President Yahya Jammeh announced the new execution policy in a speech on state media Sunday that was rebroadcast Monday.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Sinfully Yours

    The US needs to take notes on Gambia: this is how you reduce the population in our overcrowded prison systems. Off the inmates on death row already! It'll cut down on operating costs!

    August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • raobert

      its a shame some people feel the way you do.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      Hey...if you did the crime and are sentenced to death, why prolong the execution for years and years. Its a waste of tax payers money. From the sentencing they shold just shuffle the criminal into the next room to be executed. That would make people think twie about commiting crimes punishable by death.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I would guess that it depends on what the Gambians considers an executable crime to be.
      "Bandity" was one on the list...
      See, in our country, you can draw a lengthy sentence for being caught smoking a blunt...
      Want to ease overcrowding here in the US?
      Start with *that* kind of infraction.
      Overcrowding isn't due to death row inmates.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Oweh Pleasure

    Much as i habour execution, the fact remains that the use of hard drugs would continue to destroy the future of nations whose youths especially are prime users. So if the U.N, would financially support The Gambia, that is spending tax payers money on erring inmates for years, as a starter, till a more humane & generally acceptable approach or modality is reached, the must be a corrective action to deter prospective criminals.

    August 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |