A woman who had the opportunity to talk to Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty and Attorney General Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou during a rare visit by senior government officials to the Mile II prison was among twelve women pardoned by President Adama Barrow.
The woman was caught with drugs at the Banjul International Airport and had spent years in prison.
“I have been here for a long time. I have suffered a lot and I do not want to die here,” she told the ministers during their visit.
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh had pardoned hundreds of prisoners in 2015, but she was not among those who were released by the authorities.
The Mile II Prisons is one of Africa’s worst detention centers.
Inadequate sanitation, food, water, as well as torture are rife in the prisons. The ventilation system is poor and many prisoners died of malnutrition and food poisoning.
A U.S. State Department report says the prison conditions are poor with overcrowded, damp, and poorly ventilated cells and inmates complained of poor sanitation and food.
During the summer months, temperatures were extremely high, and there were no ceiling fans or other measures to reduce heat.