UN Envoy for Western Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas says former Gambian dictator President Yahya Jammeh can still be extradited to the Gambia to be prosecuted for crimes against the state and human rights abuses.
President Yahya Jammeh has been accused of torturing, killing, and arbitrarily detaining activists, political opponents and journalists, and looting state resources.
Gambian authorities said he emptied the state coffers of US$12 million while fleeing to Equatorial Guinea.
UN experts that visited the Gambia found that torture was a consistent practice carried out by the National Intelligence Agency, which is only answerable to Jammeh. In cases where there is a real or perceived threat to national security, there is a corresponding increase in acts of torture and ill-treatment during the detention and arrest process, they noted.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow, who defeated Jammeh in the presidential polls assured that he would not prosecute the former ruler.
He, however, authorized a military force to arrest Jammeh after he refused to step aside.
Jammeh had been given several opportunities by Barrow to stand down peacefully, be allowed to stay in the Gambia and be treated and respected as a former head of state. Offers that Jammeh ignored.
Rights defenders are challenging a draft agreement by the international community, which they say gave Jammeh a favorable sendoff.
About 2,500 troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) remain in Banjul, as well as at the port, airport, and at key crossing points between Gambia and Senegal.