Target: Yahya Jammeh, President of The Gambia
Goal: Prevent executions from starting again in The Gambia
President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has recently announced via a television broadcast that the government will execute its prisoners by mid-September. As of last year, there were 42 men and two women prisoners on death row. With the addition of three new prisoners on death row this year, a total of 47 prisoners will be executed. The Gambia has not executed a prisoner for 27 years and there have been no recent executions by other West African countries. Executing prisoners now will be unwelcomed and would create a precedent.
It is vital that the Gambian government maintain their execution-free government. Executions were once used to punish prisoners who were convicted of murder and treason. Executions nowadays, since they have become almost nonexistent in West Africa, are mostly used as a political tool. Prisoners who are executed would be a part of a rebellious organization. Although it is unclear whether or not these 47 prisoners are linked to any rebel groups, it is important that executions do not start again. President Jammeh claims that these executions will help the country with “Operation Bulldozer,” which is his plan on stopping criminals effectively in his country.
Not only are executions extreme, the international standards for a trial, which ensures that prisoners get a fair and just hearing, are usually not followed closely nor are they respected. Some of the standards require the presumption of innocence, ability to acquire a lawyer, and the prohibition of using evidence attained from torture.
The Gambia must not break the 27-year old tradition of disallowing executions. The Gambia is currently listed as an abolitionist, meaning that the country has been acknowledged as a nation without the death penalty. Punishing criminals is important but execution is not the answer. It will instill unnecessary fear for the people and it might start a new trend of executions throughout West Africa. The global world is trying to move away from executions and it is important that The Gambia is a part of this trend and not its opposition. Tell The Gambia’s president not to end this necessary ban on executions.
Dear President Yahya Jammeh,
I have recently become aware of your decision to execute 47 prisoners on death row as a part of your “Operation Bulldozer” plan which seeks to eradicate criminals. Although it is important to control crime, introducing executions once more into your country after a 27-year ban is detrimental. The death penalty is not the answer and will only instill fear in your people.
No other West African country has used execution in the past few years. Your nation has also been classified as abolitionist in practice and it is vital to maintain your current practices. The global world is also moving toward a more peaceful community by attempting to get rid of the death penalty. The Gambia should continue its support in this progressive movement and not retract and become its opposition.
I urge you to reconsider the consequences of executing the 47 prisoners.
[Your Name Here]