Saturday, July 23, 2016

United States joins the uproar, condemns harsh sentences by Nigeria mercenary judges

The United States State Department issued a statement condemning what it considers to be harsh sentences handed out to 30 members of The Gambia's largest political party by two Nigerian mercenary judges from two jurisdictions of Banjul and Mansa Konko.

All 30, including Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and members of his party's executive members and supporters were handed a 3-year jail sentences each.

Those tried in Mansa Konko, a town 110 miles away from where the alleged crime of peaceful demonstration took place - which raised jurisdictional issues - included three female supporters who were severely tortured and sexually assaulted at the hands of agents of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Judge Eunice O. Dada
   Judges Eunice Dada and Simeon Abi, both Nigerians, sentenced the two groups of opposition party members in two separate trials, choreographed to coincide with the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the coup d'etat that brought Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh, in 1994.

To sentence the entire leadership of the largest opposition to 3-year terms each, months before the scheduled presidential elections is a calculated move by the Gambian dictator to eliminate any and all credible elections in which the opposition will play an unfettered role.  The Nigerian judges have been brought in to ensure the dictatorship prevails in the coming elections.

The United States statement raises concern about the fairness of the trials and whether due process was observed.  America is also "deeply troubled by the reported torture of protesters and opposition figures and the death in custody of opposition leader Solo Sandeng," the
statement continued.

Justice Simeon Abi 
The Obama administration further calls for the immediate release of all those 30 sentenced this week including every protester arrested during last April demonstrations.  The statement also calls for the conduct of an independent investigation of allegations of torture and abuse.

Finally, the U.S. government is also calling on the regime of Yaya Jammeh to guarantee the constitutional rights of every Gambian to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.