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Gambia executes 9 after vowing to kill all death row prisoners

Amnesty International says Gambia executed nine prisoners after President Yahya Jammeh vowed to execute all death row inmates by mid-September.

Gambia president yahya jammeh oath 2012 1 19Enlarge
Gambian incumbent Yahya Jammeh (L) speaks with his wife, Zeineb Souma Jammeh, on Nov. 24, 2011 as he leaves a polling station in the capital Banjul after voting in the presidential elections. Gambians voted on Nov. 24 in polls, which some observers said were skewed in favor of Jammeh, who heaped scorn on criticism that his regime is repressive. (Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

Gambia has executed nine death row prisoners following a promise by President Yahya Jammeh to execute all inmates sentenced to death.

Amnesty International said it had received "credible reports" that the West African nation late Friday executed nine convicted criminals, including eight men and one women. Two of the executed prisoners are said to have been foreigners from neighboring Senegal.

Dozens more "are under threat of imminent executions today and in the coming days," Amnesty said.

Jammeh has vowed to execute all death row prisoners by mid-September.

“If confirmed the reported executions are a hugely retrograde step – they would bring The Gambia back into the minority of countries which are still executing, and we are urging the authorities to immediately halt any further possible executions,” Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International’s Africa deputy director, said in a statement.

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Amnesty said the last execution in Gambia took place 27 years ago. There is no clear reason for the change.

"All those guilty of serious crimes and are condemned will face the full force of the law," the Gambian president said during a televised address earlier this month to mark this year's Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr.

"All punishments prescribed by law will be maintained in the country to ensure that criminals get what they deserve: that is, that those who kill are killed ... By the middle of next month, all the death sentences would have been carried out to the letter," Jammeh said, according to CNN.

Jammeh, a former military officer, who seized power in a coup in 1994, said that crimes like banditry, drug trafficking or illicit use, homosexuality, murder, terrorism and other subversive activities against either the state or the people will not be tolerated.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120825/gambia-executes-9-after-vowing-kill-all-death-row-prisoners