Former NIA Director, Yankuba Badjie alongside some of his accomplices in the murder of former United Democratic Party activist, Solo Sandeng have been sentenced to death.
Yankuba Badjie, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Baboucarr Sallah, Masireh Tamba, Lamin Darboe, have all been handed the death sentence for the same crime. Lamin Lang Sanyang, the doctor, has been sentenced to 10 years for forgery, while Haruna Susso was acquitted & discharged.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Gambia’s former spy chief and four other ex-intelligence officials have been sentenced to death for the 2016 murder of an opponent of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, a rare instance of criminal accountability for Jammeh-era crimes.
The judgment was delivered by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara on Wednesday. The case started in 2017.
The country has observed a moratorium on the death penalty since 2018, so the sentences handed down by Gambia’s high court will be converted to life imprisonment.
It could be recalled that Sandeng, an activist from the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), was arrested at a rally in April 2016, beaten to death and buried in an unmarked grave, witnesses said.
Adama Barrow, at the time representing a coalition of opposition parties, defeated Jammeh in an election later that year.
Jammeh tried to cling to power but eventually fled to Equatorial Guinea under threat of a regional military intervention.
Barrow’s government has said it would prosecute Jammeh and others for killings, rapes and other crimes committed during his 1994 to 2017 rule in line with recommendations by a truth and reconciliation commission last year.
But Jammeh remains in exile, and victims groups have complained about how slow progress toward prosecutions has been. The only other person convicted for abuses during the Jammeh era was a former minister, Yankuba Touray, who was sentenced to death last year for killing another minister, minister of finance Koro Ceesay.
Gambia’s attorney general said in May that the government would work to implement the truth commission’s recommendations on the basis of “clear timelines and measurable outcomes”.