PPP Press Statement, July 23, 2016
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) statement on July 20 and 21 sentencing of innocent civilians.
What happened in the Gambia on July 20 and July 21, 2016 was a travesty of justice. Innocent civilians and opposition party leaders were wrongly accused and sentence to jail for standing up and exercising their God given constitutional right which is guaranteed in the country’s constitution and which the president Yahya Jammeh swore and promised to uphold.
The PPP has vehemently condemned in the strongest possible terms the ruling of Yaya Jammeh’s kangaroo court and demand for their immediate and unconditional release. The PPP stands with UDP in these very trying times in solidarity with all the families whose love ones are unjustly incarcerated and pray for their speedy release.
The use of brute force to pacify opponents and perceived enemies has been going on for far too long and we cannot give in or give up; we cannot afford to be silent; we cannot be neutral and driving on the reverse is certainly not an option. The arrest, detention and subsequent mock trial of innocent Gambians who were out to exercise their civil rights, was characterized by torture and humiliation meted out to a larger extent by rogue law enforcement officers. The PPP in collaboration with other opposition parties and all willing Gambians, will ensure that justice is served in all these cases no matter how long it takes; no amount of legislation would be enough to indemnify culprits for the barbaric, systematic and inhuman treatment inflicted on our fellow citizens. We also take the threat of ethnic cleansing very seriously and the PPP will NOT be on the sidelines while this brutal dictator unleashes his wrath upon our citizens. Henceforth, let us shift to a higher gear as we reclaim our country from the clutches of a tyrant.
To start with, the PPP is unequivocally making the following demands to the government of the Republic of The Gambia:
1. Overturn all convictions from kangaroo courts headed by international judges.
2. To immediately STOP all arbitrary detention and unconditionally release all Prisoners of conscience
3. To ensure a level playing field, unconditionally meet demands from the opposition parties and Civil Societies to reform the current electoral laws.
We also remind the Government of The Gambia, of its obligations arising from the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to which Gambia is a state party. In addition, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN Special Rapporteur/Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that, arbitrary detention and torture are used systematically in the criminal justice system of Gambia, hence reminding the Gambian government of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Under the ICCPR, Gambia must ensure that no individual is subjected to arbitrary detention (Article 9) and that everyone enjoys the right to freedom of expression (Article 19).
The UDP saga should be a wake-up call for the opposition parties once and for all to do what is required of us by majority of the Gambian people. We are presently witnessing a despot who is getting more and more paranoid and only a strong and well structured, effective opposition alliance/coalition can save the Gambia from the looming catastrophe. Now is the time then ever-before for us to seize this opportunity to save our country.
The PPP believes this is not the time for partisan politics and bickering. Our common purpose and love for our country should transcend any individual position or interest. We have operated in silos for far too long and it has not yielded the results all Gambians are yearning for. Our resolve to overcome our differences must be our guiding principle to forge a united front against oppression and brutality.