In what is now confirmed to be one of his trademark schemes, Yaya Jammeh has according to a statement read on The Gambia Radio and Television Station (GRTS), “pardoned” 85 prisoners in what the statement calls the “Islamic spirit of mercy and forgiveness” in the Holy month of Ramadan, and in conformity with Yaya’s usual tirade, managed to throw in what the statement also refers to as the “spirit of liberty and freedom that underlines the 50th anniversary of Gambia’s independence from colonial rule”.
Upon further scrutiny, Faturadio is baffled by not only the sheer lies being peddled here as to the actual number of those “pardoned”, but also by the disingenuous nature of this whole exercise. As to the numbers, Faturadio has confirmed that one of those claimed to be pardoned, Lama Jallow, in fact died in Mile 2, so his name is just being used to beef up the numbers. Also, despite claims being made by the regime that the main prisons affected by these pardons are Janjanbureh, Jeshwang, and Mile 2, prison officials contacted at those prisons told us that they cannot remember having many of these names being mentioned in the statement on their roster, which raises questions as to where these “85” individuals are being released from. An observer also wonders why making claims of releasing convicted criminals when innocent people like Meta Njie, Yusupha Lowe (a minor), and other relatives of the December 30 coup attempt, who committed no crimes whatsoever continue to languish in secret detentions with no access to lawyers and family members – talk about “Islamic spirit of mercy and forgiveness”.
One of those released under this new order Faturadio has learned is Ebrima Bun Sanneh, the former Drug Squad boss. Bun was arrested in 2010 and charged with eleven (11) counts of criminal offences ranging from conspiracy to commit felony, to stealing, concealment and destroying of evidence, official corruption & economic crime out of the 30 total charges. This was in connection to a drug trafficking case involving the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ensa Badjie, former Navy Chief, Sarjo Fofana (recently freed by the court of appeal), and General Yankuba Drammeh.
According to reliable sources, Bun almost lost his eyes while in detention. Those sources say he will most likely spend most of his time in hospital as his health is also failing.
Our sources close to the Ministry of Interior, have confirmed that about thirty prisoners out of the 85 announced were said to have been taken from Mile 2 Central Prison – mainly from the main yard, and only 5 from Confinement, which is the Maximum Security Wing.
The five from Confinement are:
Rudy Gazzi – from Holland, drug case
Gibril Bojang – a soldier
Kawsu Jarju – in collaboration with Dawda Bojang, who was executed in 2012 killed a white guy
Mamodou Njie – accused of stealing, he has been in and out of Mile 2 on numerous occasions
The sources said that most of the prisoners pardoned were convicted of theft and minor offences, most of whom are serving sentences of between 3-6 months.
Mile 2 has almost 900 inmates right now.