In Gambia, freedom now walks the streets!



Analysts want firmer entrenchment of human rights, democratic values

adama barrow, gambia

By Nsikan Ikpe


For President Adama Barrow of the Gambia, the freedom walk continues. Last week, his government pardoned another 84 prisoners.

This new application of the ‘prerogative of mercy’ is coming some two weeks after a similar release of 174 prisoners.

Without any doubt, the releases are in the bid to sweep up some of the old legacies of Yahya Jammeh, the dictator who singularly dominated the nation for some two decades. Barrow, a beneficiary of concerted action brought to bear on the ousted dictator, finally came into office with the backing of the regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS and the United Nations Security Council.

The new pardon involved prisoners who had been held in three different jails, a government source confirmed, and it included the very notorious Mile Two jail whose director had been dismissed a few weeks ago by the new President.

‘The Prison high command Thursday released 98 prisoners who were held at Mile Two, Old Jeshwang and Janjanbureh Prisons. They were discharged on the directive of President Adama Barrow,’  the source said.

This comes barely two weeks after the president initially pardoned 174 prisoners.

Among the freed prisoners were rapists, robbers, burglars and people convicted of firearms offences, the source added. Sixteen were foreign nationals from Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

It was also reported that President Barrow may have been convinced to act after Mai Fatty, the Interior Minister pledged to build facilities in line with international norms after shocking footage emerged of prisoners kept in dark and bare concrete cells.

Building on this analysts are asking the administration to go the whole hog and deeply institutionalise the rule of law and human rights observance as a given in Gambian society.

This is more so when the incumbent President is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term in office.


President Adama Barrow of The Gambia

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