We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations based in Sierra Leone, strongly denounce the execution of 9 inmates on death row in The Gambia last week.
The executions represent a tragic setback to efforts at developing a human rights culture in the region, with the last execution in The Gambia taking place in 1985, according to The Gambian Government. This action also places The Gambia out of step with its fellow African Union states, the majority of which are abolitionist in law or practice.
The recent executions, and threats by President Jammeh of further executions, diminish any hope that the leadership of The Gambian is committed to abolishing the death penalty.
We welcome the Sierra Leonean Government’s official moratorium on executions which was issued last year, and call on the Government to take a stand against the use of the death penalty in the region by urging The Gambian Government to halt any further executions and commute prisoners on death row to terms of imprisonment. Such a call is in line with the African Union, United Nations and European Union’s stance.
The tragic example set by The Gambia last week also highlights the weakness of death penalty moratoriums. We, therefore, strongly urge the Government to consider the abolition of the death penalty in Sierra Leone, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Amnesty International Sierra Leone
Prison Watch Sierra Leone