Jesse Jackson Convinces Gambia to Free US Prisoners

President suspends dozens of executions: Jackson's group
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 18, 2012 12:13 PM CDT
The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Jonesboro, Ark.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

(Newser) – Gambia's president has agreed to release a pair of Americans imprisoned for treason, thanks to the work of Jesse Jackson, CNN reports. President Yahya Jammeh will also indefinitely suspend the executions of dozens of death-row inmates, says Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition, after Jammeh planned to execute all of them by mid-September—an announcement that spurred Jackson's trip to the country. Nine of the 47 had already been executed.

One of the freed Americans, Gambia's former information minister, had been sentenced to life in prison after making anti-Jammeh T-shirts that said "End Dictatorship Now." The other had been sentenced to 20 years for taking part in an attempted coup. Jackson's trip, as a private citizen, was funded by Gambia's government. The Americans will return home tonight. (Read more Jesse Jackson stories.)

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