Gambia’s Truth Commission recommends prosecution of AFPRC Junta members alongside Jammeh

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The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRCC) has recommended the prosecution of members of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) for ordering the unlawful arrests, detention and torture of prisoners held at Fajara Barracks during the Junta’s reign.

The TRCC was set up in 2017 to investigate crimes and abuses perpetrated by The Gambia’s erstwhile president, Yahya Jammeh, during his 22-year dictatorship rule.

The AFPRC led the July 22, 1994 coup that ousted President Dawda Jawara, who first served as The Gambia’s prime minister and then president until the coup.

Led by Yahya Jammeh, members of the junta include Sanna B. Sabally, Edward Singhatey and Yankuba Touray.

Others are; Almamo Manneh, Baboucarr Bah, Musa Jammeh (Maliamungu), Sergeant Gomez (Hitler) and Kawsu Camara (Bombardier).

The TRCC report recently released, after over three years of consultations and public hearings, noted that they were ‘all complicit in torturing and subjecting detainees to inhuman and degrading punishment.’

However, the TRCC recommends that Baboucarr Bah be considered for amnesty in view of his testimony and the fact that he showed remorse and participated in reconciliation with his victims.

It further recommends that Sergeant Gomez (Hitler) and Kawsu Camara (Bombardier), should not hold any office with the government of The Gambia for a minimum period of ten years. Almamo Manneh and Musa Jammeh are deceased.

The Junta claimed to be “soldiers with a difference”, promising to end corruption and gaining support at an early stage for that, but the commission found that in practice, they ruled by the barrel of the gun.

The TRCC also recommended the repeal of decrees susceptible to rights violations and abuses.

“Review of all laws that are relevant to the granting of bail with a view to establishing a regime that takes into cognisance the value of individual liberty and to balance the same with the need to curb flight from justice taking into account the demands of a modern democratic state,” it recommended.

The commission also found Mr Jammeh, Chairman of the AFPRC Junta, jointly and severally culpable for all the tortures, cruel treatment of the detainees and serious human rights violations committed against the detainees.

The report reads further, “According to the evidence of Edward Singhatey, the Commission can draw adverse inference that he ordered these rights violations or at least had reasonable knowledge of them and failed to stop them,” the commission’s report reads.”

“The commission noted an evidence of sexual torture on Georgiana Kosso Taylor by kicking her in the crotch, which is corroborated by Sainey Faye and the forced nudity of Malang Fatty.”

“It also noted that two unidentified women who were close to Sanna Sabally were detained and sexually tortured both at the NIA and Mile II Prison following his arrest to force Sabally to confess to planning a coup against Jammeh with Hydara. This was to give credibility to the State publicised narrative that Sabally and Hydara indeed planned overthrowing Jammeh.”

The commission stated that Sadibou Hydara died as a result of the severe and extreme forms of torture that he was subjected to by Alagie Martin (now a general) and his team of torturers.

“With regards the detention and torture of political detainees at Fajara Barracks, the commission finds that these are callous acts of barbarity. In particular, the humiliation of an elderly person, in our traditionally conservative society, was not only an aghast behaviour, but it was also reprehensible and abhorrent as well as being cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and punishment, amounting to torture.”

PREMIUM TIMES also reported the commission’s recommendation for the prosecution of Mr Jammeh for the murder of student demonstrators in 2000 and other crimes.

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