Anger over release of Jammeh-era assassins
Publish date: 12 August 2019
Issue Number: 836
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: The Gambia
Relatives of victims murdered under the regime of The Gambia's former ruler, Yahya Jammeh, have expressed outrage over the release of three self-confessed assassins. The men, who were members of a paramilitary unit known as the ‘Junglers’, were released from military custody two weeks after appearing before the Gambian Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Malick Jatta, Omar Jallow and Amadou Badjie were arrested by the military police in 2017 when President Adama Barrow took office after winning elections in December 2016. His government set up the commission which is investigating human rights violations alleged to have been committed during Jammeh's 22-year rule, including reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention. During the hearings, the three men accused the exiled President of ordering numerous murders, including the 2013 killings of two US-Gambians and a veteran local journalist, Deyda Hydara. BBC News reports that Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou has defended the decision to release the three, saying it would encourage other human rights violators to testify. ‘The TRRC is not a court of law and one of its primary objectives is to establish the truth,’ Reuters quoted him as saying. However, Hydara’s son Baba said it has been hard for relatives who have been seeking justice for 15 years. ‘We are appealing to the government to make sure that these confessed killers are not in our streets; are not in our communities,’ he said.