A junior brother of the Gambia’s murdered opposition electoral activist says the country’s exiled leader “doesn’t deserve freedom.” Ebrima Solo Sandeng, the father of 11, was tortured to death after his April 14 arrest.
“Yahya Jammeh doesn’t deserve freedom,” Kebba Sandeng says, believing “there is high probability that the horrific crimes of the former regime have to do with Yahya Jammeh ‘s plans to remain in power by all means.”
The late Sandeng’s son wants justice for all the victims of Jammeh’s 22-year dictatorial rule. Muhammed thinks justice will provide closure to the victims and their families.
Calls for the Barrow government to try Jammeh and his partners in crime fill the air following the upholding of the life imprisonment of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre in Senegal. Gambians are not settling for anything other than seeing Jammeh and his bad guys being held accountable for their crimes. Gambian authorities are now facing a rising demand for justice, with many wanting Yahya Jammeh indicted instead of being left to enjoy the golden exile in Equatorial Guinea.
The dramatic events of April 14, 2016, which led to the arrest and death in custody of United Democratic Party Organising Secretary, was the catalyst that provoked the democratic movement that put an end to the Jammeh brutality.
The new government has increasingly exposed Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year ‘reign of terror’. Victims’ families have reacted swiftly, pushing for Jammeh to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Under the Jammeh regime, the quest for justice was impossible in a country where authorities criminalised dissent. Even a mere attempt to stage a peaceful protest without permit is tantamount to breach of the law.
President Adama Barrow vows to right the wrongs of the past. He sees salvation in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and reparations to victims. But the quest for justice seems to transcend the issue of reconciliation as a major part of peace.
Abdoulie Bojang, who lost his son Lamin Bojang during the sad events of April 10 -11, 2000 that had left at least 14 students dead, argues: “there cannot be peace without justice.” Mr. Bojang believes that
“only justice can help to bring back trust in the country’s institutions.”
Abdoulie is still at pains of having their voices suppressed by Yahya Jammeh. “We were even denied the right to remember them!” he exclaims.
The mother of Cpt Njaga Jagne who died in the December 30 state house attack re-echoes similar sentiments. Aja Yassin Jobe explains how her grandson was paralyzed by a bullet during the bloody April 2000 student demonstration.
“Those behind this act should face justice. Yahya Jammeh cannot go scot-free,” she said, exhibiting the portraits of her loved ones.
In a report released Mid-April, Human Rights Watch urged Gambian authorities to prosecute those linked to serious crimes committed during Jammeh’s 22-year rule .
“Fair trials are crucial for victims and their families and for building respect for the rule of law in the country,” Human Rights Watch writes.