Saturday, March 4, 2017

Gambia frees 98 prisoners from Yahya Jammeh era

Two weeks after freeing about 170 prisoners, Gambian authorities have again released 98 prisoners, mostly from the notorious Mile II prison, as the country seeks to turn a page on the authoritarian era of ousted former president Yahya Jammeh.

This was revealed by an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Gambian President Adama Barrow in February replaced the head of the military, a pillar of his predecessor Jammeh’s government, and dismissed several senior military officers.

The former head of prisons was arrested.

Barrow won an election in December, but Jammeh refused to accept the result.

Jammeh eventually fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January, after coming under pressure from regional leaders who sent troops to Gambia to force him to leave.

Rights groups say Jammeh’s opponents were tortured, and some died, in detention centres including the Mile II Central Prison in Banjul.

Interior Ministry spokesman Lamin Baba Njie said by telephone that 79 people had been released from Mile II, and a further 19 from other prisons.

“The releases are part of the prisons reform agenda,” he said. (Reuters/NAN)

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