As Gambians argue the best path for the building of a democracy after two decades rule of strongman Yahya Jammeh, its Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambedou, said the death penalty should be obliterated from the country’s statute books.
Gambians went to polls on December 1 where a former property developer Adama Barrow emerged a winner, promising sweeping legal and institutional reforms.
“I believe that the death penalty should be repealed. I think it has no place in any progressive democracy,” Tambedou, a former UN war crimes prosecutor said.
“That is my view and it is a view that I will encourage the government as a whole to embrace. And I am working, in collaboration with all my cabinet colleagues, on ensuring that the death penalty is no longer in our statute books.”
Tambedou was speaking in an exclusive interview with Gambian journalist Mustapha Darboe following a meeting with the president of Gambia Press Union, Bai Emil Touray.
Touray visited the former war crimes prosecutor to discuss issues of media law reforms that the new government intends to embark on and how the Union might play a part it that process.
The death penalty has been on Gambia’s statute books but a moratorium was placed on it after one man was executed in 1985.
In August 201 2, the small nation’s eccentric leader Yahya Jammeh who walks around with prayer beads, Quran and a sword, lifted the moratorium and killed nine dead row prisoners causing international outrage.