Friday, September 18, 2015

Preliminary thoughts on HRW Report on The Gambia

Thinking about the Human Rights Watch's

damning catalog of human right abuses in the Gambia this morning, my thoughts went to Imam Baba Leigh, Musa Saidy-Khan, Amadou Scattred Janneh, Fatu Camara, members of the LGBT community who were victims of torture and other forms of abuses at the hands of Africa's most brutal and sinister regime, and how lucky they have been to survive it all, to live another day to tell their story to the world.  
But then it dawned on me that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Gambians, Senegalese, Ghanaians, Nigerians and other non-Gambians who were not so lucky, who were murdered, tortured by driving nails through their skulls, beating others with metal pipes and stomping on their backs and hands in order to break their bones.
One such victim who didn't make it through was Lamin Sanneh, no relation except he was a friend and former colleague who was Director of Works for several years before he became Permanent Secretary. A trained civil engineer, he worked on the Soma-Basse road project as a supervising engineer and numerous other important engineering projects during is relative short but illustrious career until he ran afoul of the vile regime of Yaya Jammeh and his prolific torturers who bludgeon him to near death - probably with a hammer, since it appears to be a weapon of choice of these barbarians. When he finally 'recovered' from his ordeal, Lamin was never the same and died at the Royal Victoria Hospital of brain hemorrhage.
In observing HRW's seminal report on The Gambia, let us also take a moment to remember the many victims of Yaya Jammeh who did not live to tell their stories. The regime in Banjul is doing everything in its power to "bury the bad news by declaring a 4-day holiday" as astutely observed by a member of our Research team. 
As I declared yesterday, I am not sure that I have it in my heart to ever forgive members of Jammeh's Torture Team for their crimes against their fellow Gambians. I pray that one day, they will all face justice, not at The Hague but in Banjul, and that included one who is currently hiding somewhere in Sweden.