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|“||If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat – if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.||„|
|~ Yahya Jammeh|
Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, better known as Yahya Jammeh (born May 25, 1965) is a Gambian military officer and politician. He was President of the Republic of the Gambia from July 22, 1994, to January 18, 2017. During his long and controversial term, he was accused of numerous human rights violations, restricting press freedom, and violently repressing to the LGBT community.
On January 19 and 20, 2017, he served as de facto president, refusing to cede power to the new president, Adama Barrow, who had defeated him in the 2016 presidential elections, who had to take office in exile. After hours of negotiation and in the face of international pressure and the threat of a military intervention to evict him by ECOWAS, he announced his decision to step down from power in a statement released on January 21. That same day at night he left the Gambia to go into exile to Equatorial Guinea.
Jammeh was born on May 25, 1965, in the city of Kanilai, on the border with Senegal, just a couple of months after his country's independence, in February. He joined the Gambian National Army at the age of 19, in 1984, and was appointed Second Lieutenant in 1989.3 He became commander of the Yundum Barracks Military Police in August 1992.4 Jammeh received extensive military training in the neighboring country, Senegal, 5, and trained for military police at Fort McClellan, Alabama.6 He studied at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
1994 coup in the Gambia
On July 22, 1994, Lieutenant Jammeh, with a group of young officers from the Gambian National Army, carried out a bloodless coup against Dawda Jawara, who had ruled the country democratically since independence. The coup was quickly completed after the coup plotters took control of several important points in the capital, Banjul. The coup was met with little resistance, and Jawara went into exile in Senegal. The coup group identified itself to himself as the Provisional Council of Government of the Armed Forces (AFPRC), and appointed Jammeh, aged twenty-nine, as interim head of state.
Upon coming to power, the AFPRC suspended the constitution, sealed the borders, and implemented a curfew. While the new Jammeh government justified the coup by discrediting the corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, the truth was that military personnel were also dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions, and prospects for promotion. Following the coup, political activity was severely restricted, and virtually all political parties were momentarily suppressed. The coup was met with surprise on the international scene, and most European countries canceled their economic aid to the Gambia.
In 1996, Jammeh announced the return to a civilian government, following the drafting of a new constitution.8 Despite the promise of a multiparty regime, in practice most of the powers were handed over to the President, who had a number of unlimited terms.8 The constitution was approved by a referendum with 70.36% of the votes.8 The presidential elections were held in September of that same year.8 Although he did not initially intend to participate, Jammeh finally he did so, founding his political party, the Alliance for Reorientation and Patriotic Construction, resigned his military rank, and was the winner with 55.77% of the votes.10 The electoral process was contested by the opposition and occurred without presence of observers from the Commonwealth of Nations and the African Union who refused to participate in the process.
President of the Republic of the Gambia: 1996 - 2017
Jammeh was re-elected on October 18, 2001 with approximately 53% of the vote, these elections being generally considered free by international observers, except for a few specific events.13 Jammeh expelled a UK diplomat from the country who had attended a meeting of the opposition parties.14 He ran again as his party's candidate in 2006, winning again with 67.3% of the votes, in a 58% participation of the electorate. His main opponent, Ousainou Darboe, accused him of intimidating voters.
Highly treacherous, I support the insurgents of the Muammar Al-Gaddafi 's regime being one of the first African leaders to recognize the Libyan CNT in the libya civil war of 2011.
His last electoral victory was in 2011. Before the elections, Jammeh had claimed that "Peace and stability should never be endangered on the altar of so-called democracy", 16 and stated that "there is no way in which I may lose, unless all the people in The Gambia have gone crazy, "and stated that repressed journalists represented only 1% of the population, and that they could not speak for.
In February 2012, Jammeh insisted that gay rights cannot be considered human rights; and in April of that same year, he threatened homosexuals who visit his country will make them "regret being born."
Jammeh said the country would respect all religious freedom without restrictions, banned child marriages and female genital mutilation in the country.
Human rights abuses
Human Rights Watch found that the Gambian security services most frequently implicated in abuses were the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the paramilitary “Jungulers,” and the Serious Crimes Unit and the Police Intervention Unit of the Gambian Police Force. The Jungulers, an unofficial unit of up to 40 personnel largely drawn from the Presidential Guard, was most frequently implicated in serious abuses, carrying out the most egregious crimes,notable among them was ordering the killing of about 50 West African migrants in 2005 The victims included 44 Ghanaians, 10 Nigerians, two Senegalese, three Ivoirians and one Togolese, who were killed because the security forces feared they were mercenaries coming to try to oust Jammeh.
On 10 and 11 April 2000, the government was accused of the killing of 14 students and a journalist during a student demonstration to protest the death of a student in The Gambia. Jammeh was accused of ordering the shooting of the students, but the government denied the allegations. A government commission of inquiry reportedly concluded that the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers were "largely responsible" for many of the deaths and other injuries. The commission also said that five soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion were responsible for the deaths of two students at Brikama. The government stated that the report implicated several PIU officers in the students' deaths and injuries, but those responsible were not prosecuted.
The journalist Deyda Hydara was an advocate of press freedom and a fierce critic of the government of then President Yahya Jammeh, who was openly hostile to Gambian journalists and the media, the Gambia passed two new media laws. One, the Criminal Code Bill 2004, allowed prison terms for defamation and sedition; the other, the Newspaper Bill 2004, required newspaper owners to purchase expensive operating licenses, registering their homes as security. Hydara announced his intent to challenge these laws, but on December 16, was assassinated by an unknown gunman while driving home from work in Banjul. Two of his colleagues were also injured. Over the years, the Gambian government was the target of much criticism for its failure to properly field an investigation and also for intimidating those who made such criticisms. Hydara's family filed a lawsuit against the government for negligence, and an ECOWAS court ruled in favour of the family in 2014, awarding them $60,000 in damages and legal fees, although the government has not yet complied with the ruling. His murder remains unsolved, although in May 2017 (after Adama Barrow replaced Yahya Jammeh as President), arrest warrants were issued for two army officers as suspects.
Newspaper reports list dozens of individuals who have disappeared after being picked up by men in plain-clothes, and others who have languished under indefinite detention for months or years without charge or trial. Furthermore, in July 2006, Ebrima Manneh of The Daily Observer was arrested by state security after attempting to publish a BBC report critical of Jammeh. His arrest was witnessed by his coworkers, report Mahheh dies in 2008.The Gambian government refuses to divulge the precise reason for his arrest; however, Manneh’s detention is likely related to his attempt to republish a BBC News article that traces the source of then-President Yanya Jammeh’s power to a 1994 coup.
Information on Manneh’s current condition is limited. According to the last available information, however, he suffers from grave health problems. Manneh has been held in solitary confinement in dehumanizing conditions. He is also at serious risk of being tortured. According to the U.S. State Department, Gambian security forces torture defendants with “electrocution, cigarette burns, plastic bags held over people’s heads, knife wounds, cold water treatments, and threats of being shot.”
Organizations worldwide have condemned Manneh’s unjust detention. Amnesty International labeled Manneh a prisoner of conscience. The Media Foundation of West Africa filed a petition on Manneh’s behalf before the Community Court of Justice (CCJ) of the Economic Community of West African States. On June 5, 2008, the CCJ issued a judgment declaring Manneh’s detention to be in violation of international law. Under the binding order, The Gambia must release Manneh and pay $100,000 in damages to his relatives. The Gambian government, which did not defend itself in the CCJ proceedings, only complied with the judgment in 2018. The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court ordered the Gambia government to produce one journalist who had disappeared. In April 2016, at least 50 people were arrested during a demonstration, and there were fears that Solo Sandeng, an opposition politician, died alongside two others while being held in detention. In July 2016, a Gambian opposition leader and another 18 people were sentenced to three years in jail for participation in the April demonstration. A Gambian diplomat publicly denied that Solo Sandeng had died in custody.
In March 2009 Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 Gambians had been abducted by government-sponsored "witch doctors" on charges of witchcraft, and taken to government detention centres where they were forced to drink poisonous hallucinogenic substances. On 21 May 2009, The New York Times reported that the alleged witch-hunting campaign had been sparked by the President Yahya Jammeh, who believed that the death of his aunt earlier that year could be attributed to witchcraft, the real reason could be due to the fact that president of Guinea-Bissau João Bernardo Vieira, a close friend of the Gambian satrap was bloodylly murdered, Jammeh was horrified to share a possiblly fate similar to that of his counterpart and friend.
Jammeh he was exiled in Equatorial Guinea under Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.