29 August 2012

Gambia:Today our nation is shocked, saddened and outraged

By Assan Martin, Human Rights Lawyer
Mr. President:
Since honest and sincere advice are lacking in your administration, I felt that I should give short advice to you with all sincerity and honesty on the recent executions of death row inmates.
Today our nation is shocked, saddened and outraged as to the recent executions of some 9 inmates in mile 2 Prison. As a staunched believer of rights and liberties especially the rights of accused persons, I have constantly spoken against the death penalty since October 19th 2010. Reference of which is on the point newspaper edition October 19th, 2010. I was basically advocating for the commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment to avoid the innocent lost of lives that can never be recovered.
As counsel who represented and supervised several murder cases since the inception of the special court established to extradite cases and on gratis for my state brief cases. I here remind you Mr. President that our judicial system (courts) is full of flaws and mainly not competent as claimed. Especially some foreign judges trying to impressed you at the expense of the Gambian people. Be informed that there is a lot of miscarriages of justices in our criminal justice system especially with procedures and proceedings in cases of felons in our courts.
Mr. President the ill advices you received from the so called professionals you relied upon are damaging to our nation.”Tackling crimes can only come by tackling the root causesof crimes”   and for people to be educated for a decent society. Death penalty sentences are not a solution to tackling crimes.
However, your former Justice Minister Mr. Edu GomeZ and co tried to defend capital punishment with no justifiable reasons but to solidify their positions in government.
Sadly most of our foreign JUDGES are incompetent and don’t understand the Gambian society and culture. One cannot imagine a judge sentenced to death an accused person in provocative murder cases. Also in a sad case of woman “sentence to death by hanging “for dumping a baby caused by post-antenatal syndromes or stresses leading to concealment of birth in a remote village.
More so the treason trial involving General Lang Tombong Tamba and 8 others on 10thMay 2010, is a clear case of travesty of justice. I believe in don’t defending the guilt but again let me remind you sir that there existed no justifiable evidence for conviction in this case.  Where conviction is warranted legal experts will not comment against it.
Once more Mr. President halts all executions and repeals all death penalty provisions. As from today our nation will never be the same because the current situation is beyond remedy.  These executions have tarnished the image of our democracy, our Justice system and respect for human rights.

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