In a meeting with the Gambian Attorney General and Minister of Justice at his office in Banjul on 31 August 2012, the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) expressed its concern about the execution of nine (9) convicted prisoners on Sunday 26 August 2012 and the threat to execute more prisoners on death row. The main issues discussed during the meeting included the right to fair trial of the persons on death row and the observation of a moratorium on the death penalty in The Gambia.
IHRDA appealed to the Minister of Justice to prevail on The Gambian government to provide legal representation for all persons charged with offences punishable by death and to further ensure that they exhaust all judicial processes in The Gambia. This can be done by making sure that their cases are heard up to the level of the Supreme Court of The Gambia as mandated by section 24(3) (d) of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia. This constitutional provision states that “where a person is charged with an offence which carries a punishment of death or imprisonment for life, that person shall be entitled to legal aid at the expense of the State.”
IHRDA also urged the Minister of Justice to prevail on The Gambian government to observe the moratorium on the execution of persons on death row in conformity with the African Commission’s Resolution (ACHPR/ Res.42 (XXVI) 99 which “urges all States party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that still maintain the death penalty to comply fully with their obligations under the treaty and to ensure that persons accused of crimes for which the death penalty is a competent sentence are afforded all the guarantees in the African Charter.”