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.FULL STORY