African Union leader opposes Jammeh’s extradition

African Union leader opposes Jammeh’s extradition

The Chairman of the African Union and Guinea’s President Alpha Conde said he will oppose any attempt to have The Gambia’s erstwhile self-serving ruler, Yahya Jammeh extradited for human rights abuses.

Conde met with Jammeh’s host, Equatorial Guinea’s iron-fist ruler, Teodoro Obiang in Malabo where both African heads of state agreed to protect Mr. Jammeh, who may be indicted in his country.

Obiang said it will set a bad political precedent after Jammeh left power peacefully, despite a standoff that lasted two months. Conde also said Jammeh must be respected as a former African leader and protected as such.

Gambia’s parliament unanimously voted to have a commission investigate allegations of human rights abuses during Jammeh’s reign. Gambia’s President Adama Barrow said if the Commission rules that Jammeh should stand trial, he will demand an extradition.

The Gambia and Equatorial Guinea have no extradition treaty. Equatorial Guinea is also not a member of the International Criminal Court, from which Jammeh had made a bold attempt to withdraw The Gambia [a decision that Barrow reversed].

Jammeh ruled the Gambia for 22 years, during which he was accused of human rights abuses through ordering the killing and disappearance of political opponents.

Barrow defeated him at polls in December 2016, but no one has been brought to book for crimes committed under the autocratic ruler, although nine of his former intelligence officers are standing trial for the murder of an opposition activist.

(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Editing by Assan Sallah)

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