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This saddens me. That in combating crimes and drugs, drug related crimes such as trafficking carry capital punishment.

President Jammeh in his attempt to ‘combat’ drug trafficking, a game he’s been suspected to have been a major player in, had his National Assembly passed a mandatory death sentence for possession and/or trafficking in October 2010 for anything more than 250 grams of cocaine and heroin. Imagine that. But because Article 18(2) of the 1997 Constitution forbids death penalty for crimes other than premeditated and/or aggravated murder, the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking got scraped. Abolished in 2011.

Even after all kinds of appeals and pressure from foreign governments, Rights Groups and friendly countries,Indonesia executed 8 people including Australian, Nigerian and Brazilian nationals by firing squad on Tuesday for possession with intention to traffic, after they’d spent a decade in prison. A mere 19 pounds of heroin. Unbelievable. Per their law, a 12-man firing squad would line up with only three guns with live ammunition, a strategy I thought is very cowardly.

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“Prisoners are given the choice of whether to stand or sit, and whether they want to wear a blindfold, hood or nothing. The shots — aimed at the heart — are fired from between 5 and 10 meters (16 to 33 feet)”, says Amnesty International, before they renewed their calls for a moratorium. Lord knows man is cruel.

This is a flashback for me. It is a 2012 replay of the Gambia government randomly picking up prisoners and killed all Nine of them in one night. I’m not a proponent of Death Penalty for any crime. Never will be, for there’s always room for reasonable doubt even if it’s the slightest

The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it”, said Amnesty International. Taking a person’s life even if guilty, achieves NOTHING as it never serves the intended deterrent purpose nor does it bring any sort of closure to the offended party or the State. But there’s always an alternative. Always room to rehabilitate while they serve the court-ruled sentence. Society/State has to move away from Punitive, Retributive Justice to a Rehabilitative stance. Man, we’ve killed so very many already. Check out the Executions Around The World stats

Another thing that stands out in all this in relation to the Gambia, is what mostly gets to be the delusional argument that the dictator president in Banjul would or could be pressured into giving in or forced out by the International Community as a sitting president should he do anything crazy. A small country like the Gambia with no clout or major significance in world politics or economy, international intervention of any sort isn’t likely unless something crazy like absolute carnage happens. Have you already forgotten November 11, 1994, April 10/11, 2000, Ghanaian and other African Nationals in 2005 and Mile II 9 in 2012? WE have to be ready to confront and tackle Jammeh ourselves. The world ‘powers’ that play ‘Big Uncles’ are preoccupied and uninterested in places like Syria, Darfur, etc., to focus their lenses on Gambia and Jammeh. We aren’t there yet.

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Indonesia, just like Gambia in 2012, are receiving all kinds of condemnations, countries recalling their diplomats but wait for a few months to see all diplomatic relations resumed. Third world governments seldom care about legitimacy or external pressure if they have to defend their regimes. It is evident that even with all the international treaties that most nations are signatories to, they deliberately do what is in ‘their interest’ even when that contravenes those laws. Sadly, it is impossible to hold them accountable in most cases making these bodies and treaties ineffective. That’s from the UN to the regional bodies. Global politics, like Local, are as messy, dirty and complicated as they get.

Rights groups and defenders, and other organizations who stand for and by people are doing the best they could in exerting pressure. For us Gambians, we thank them for hearing us out. We’ve seen on several occasions showing interest in Gambian affairs, inviting Dr. Amadou Janneh, Fatou Camara and others to put the defenseless Gambians’ case before the world. Mr. Jeff Smith and RFK Foundation, A.I, etc., we acknowledge and appreciate your stance. You are the ventilation and slim hope for those in oppressive regions despite your limitations. It is not for lack of efforts on their part but the lack of political will on the governments that show no desire to work with them in operating within their own countries laws. Ask the U.N Rapporteurs about their prison visits to the Gambia.

What must be done to get out of this condition would be among other things, building domestic institutions that are strong, independent, respectable and influential enough to be more than watchdogs. Ones that would compel governments to respect citizen rights and value human life. Until we’re able to have mechanisms in place that have the power reside in the people, our Governments will continue to murder the weak, the poor, their adversaries hiding behind the awful laws that legitimize their murderous schemes.

Good Morning And peace To The Planet!

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Pata PJ.

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