In a televised speech, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced his intention to execute all death row inmates by mid-September 2012, in an attempt to "rid the country of all criminals."
Implementation of the President's plan began on August 23, 2012 with the execution of nine death row inmates. Thirty-eight others remain at risk of imminent execution.
The death penalty in the Gambia is often used to punish "treason" as a tool for quashing political dissent. Furthermore, international standards on fair trials, including presumption of innocence, access to lawyers and exclusion of evidence obtained from torture, are often not respected.
After breaking a 27-year moratorium on the death penalty, The Gambia is now the first West African country to execute prisoners in recent years. These executions are a major blow to the global movement to abolish the death penalty. We can't let The Gambia take a giant leap backwards for human rights -- stop the executions now!