Gambia President Vows to Kill Everyone on Death Row

Human rights groups horrified at Yahya Jammeh's announcement
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2012 7:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Human rights groups are condemning President Yahya Jammeh for his vow to execute every death row prisoner in Gambia next month, breaking an almost 30-year hiatus on executions in the country. "All those guilty of serious crimes and are condemned will face the full force of the law," Jammeh said in a Sunday speech, reports the LA Times. Gambian trials are notoriously unfair, and death sentences are often handed out for "treason," meaning any opposition to Jammeh, CNN reports.

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Cocaine and heroin possession were also reportedly made capital crimes in 2010. It's unclear how many people are on death row; the AFP counts 47, but Gambian authorities say the number is much higher. "Any attempt to carry out this threat would be both deeply shocking and a major setback for human rights in Gambia," an Amnesty International official said. Gambia last executed a prisoner in 1985. Jammeh announced a similar mass execution in 2009, but never followed through. (Read more Gambia stories.)

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