Gambia’s former Justice Minister has denied advising the former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to execute nine death row inmates back in 2012. Lamin Jobarteh told the TRRC on Thursday that the execution warrants bearing his name, advising Jammeh to approve the executions never came from him. He said the executions were illegally done and Jammeh was the main perpetrator behind it. The inmates were killed through strangulation. No court order was obtained to execute the inmates.
Two of the executed inmates were Senegalese and the rest all Gambians. A Senegalese female inmate was among those killed.
Jobarteh said prior to the executions, Jammeh had vowed by swearing to the holly Koran that “if he doesn’t kill the inmates, he would eat pork and drink alcohol.”
The inmates were killed and dumped into a well in Casamance, neighboring Senegal. Families were not availed with the opportunity to pay their respect to their killed loved ones.
Jobarteh claimed that Jammeh wasn’t listening to him, that Jammeh wouldn’t accept his legal advice and counseling. Jammeh, he said, would often tell him that despite his lack of legal background, no one knows the law better than him.
Jobarteh has described Jammeh as a congenital liar and also a pathological liar. Jammeh, he went on, was a good liar, but also an inconsistent leader.
He recalled Jammeh harassing and insulting his workers. There was this cabinet meeting he said, in which Jammeh summoned his security chiefs and ordered tor the firing of police officers in the KMC area. Jammeh wasn’t happy with their work. He claimed that crime was on the increase in the Fajara. He wanted to fire the police commissioner and the officers working under him.
Jobarteh was able to restraint Jammeh. He told him that firing the officers could cause vacuum in the force and could require bringing in inexperienced officers to replace the sacked officers.
Out of the Ministers present at the meeting, Mamburay Njie was among those who supported Jobarteh’s position Jammeh finally rescinded his decision to fire the officers.
He has denied having hands in the execution of the nine death row inmates.
Jobarteh has been linked to torture while working for Gambia’s spy agencies. He has denied the torture accusations.
He ended being sacked and jailed by Jammeh.
Jobarteh was afraid of Jammeh, a former dictator he described as erratic, temperamental and unpredictable.