News / Africa

Dakar Rights Activists Rally Against Gambian Executions

Protesters gather outside the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on August 30, 2012. The banner reads:
Protesters gather outside the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on August 30, 2012. The banner reads: " Stop summary executions. The African Union and ECOWAS must react."
Nick Loomis
Senegal has joined the international chorus condemning Gambia's execution of nine death row inmates, two of whom were Senegalese.  The incident has further strained the neighbors' already turbulent relationship. 

In Dakar, human rights activists rallied outside the Gambian High Commission Thursday to call on authorities to suspend all capital punishment. Dozens crowded the narrow street outside the Commission, Thursday. Their message: Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh is a murderer.

Senegalese activist Alioune Tine led the small, but fervent, crowd. He called on the entire international community to react quickly against President Jammeh, whom he called a dictator, before it's too late.  If not, he said, all the other death row inmates will be killed and thrown in mass graves like the first nine.

Tine's African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights organized the demonstration with Amnesty International to intervene on behalf of the remaining 39 death row inmates whom President Jammeh has promised to execute by mid-September.

The Gambian government announced Monday that nine death row prisoners had been killed by firing squad the night before.  The European Union, the United Nations and other world powers condemned Gambia's actions and are calling on Gambia to refrain from further executions.

Two Senegalese citizens were among those executed.  The executions have further soured relations that were already tense because of trade and transport disputes, and Gambia's rumored support for separatist rebels in southern Senegal.

Senegalese President Macky Sall summoned the Gambian ambassador Wednesday for a dressing down over the executions.  Sall reportedly demanded an explanation as to why Senegal was not notified of the impending execution of its citizens.

Senegalese citizen Seynabou Wade came to the protest Thursday as a show of solidarity with the two Senegalese who were executed and the one remaining Senegalese citizen on death row in Gambia.

Wade says that, since he has been in power, President Jammeh hasn't stopped provoking Senegal.  She says that enough is enough, especially now that he's started killing Senegalese people.

Jammeh's 16 years in power have been marked by reports of human rights abuses, including torture, attacks on journalists and threats against homosexuals.

Sheriff Bojang, a Gambian national living in Dakar whose cousin was executed last week for his involvement in a 1998 coup attempt against President Jammeh, says that Senegal and the rest of the international community should not expect transparency or proper protocol from the Gambian government.

“Nobody informed the family," he said.  "Up to now, his body has not been given to the family, for he is a Muslim, for proper Muslim burial as our Gambian religion and customs demand.  But no, they put them in mass graves.  So nobody knows where he was killed or where he was buried, which is really the most disrespectful thing you can ever do to a human being.”

The Gambian constitution allows for state executions, but it also calls for disclosure and due process that many in the international community feel was not upheld.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More