Former Justice Lamin Jobarteh

(JollofNews) A former Gambian Attorney General and minister of Justice, Lamin Jobarteh, has justified the enforcement of the controversial death penalty by then APRC government of Yahya Jammeh.

Nine death row prisoners including Dawda Bojang, Malang Sonko, Ex-Lieutenant Lamin Jarjou, Ex-SGT Alieu Bah, Ex-SGT Lamin F Jammeh, Tabara Samba, Buba yarboe, Lamin BS Darboe and Gebe Bah were in August 2012 removed from the State Central Prisons in Banjul and suffocated with plastic bags before their bodies were dumped in a disused well by members of former President Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, The Jungulars.

The Jammeh regime had told Gambians that said the prisoners were executed by a ‘firing squad’ on Sunday 26th August 2012 after they were tried by the Gambian courts of ‘competent jurisdiction’ and have exhausted all their legal rights of appeal as provided by the law.

But a group of soldiers who admitted carrying out the executive directives said none of the prisoners were shot nor did they hear the sound of gunshots from the time the prisoners were picked up at Mile Two Prisons until they were killed.

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Addressing a delegation of elders from the West Coast Region, who had called on the Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy, to appeal to the government to spare the remaining death row inmates,  Jobarteh -who was reportedly present when the prisoners were dragged out their prison cells to be killed and was also at the military firing range in Brikama where the dead bodies were counted before being taken for disposal- said it was legal and in line with the laws of the Gambia.

Tabara Samba is among the executed prisoners

Yahya Jammeh is not carrying out the death sentence because he wants to do it but he is under an obligation to do it according to the laws of the land,” Jobarteh told the delegation.

He said the executed inmates had committed heinous crimes and were tried and found guilty by the courts. Citing the case of the Senegalese woman, Tabara Samba, as an example, Jobarteh said the executed woman ‘poured hot oil in the ear of her husband whose body was burnt and scorched by the substance’.

“What country will allow people to commit such crimes with impunity?” he asked.

“Anyone with a capacious mind would know that what the government has done is what should be done. You cannot just allow people to kill people and they get away with it. If it were your relative who was the victim of such a grotesque crime, what would you do if the perpetrator is allowed to go free?” he further asked.

As previously reported in your Jollofnews, while serving as a High Court judge in Banjul, Jobarteh, a former private legal practitioner was the one who sentenced Buba Yarboe, a ‘mentally ill man’ to death for the murder of his elderly mother.

In the verdict, Jobarteh said Yarboe who had a long history of mental history and was even once admitted at the Campama Psychiatric Unit in Banjul, had never denied killing his mother, Jainaba Jarjou and had manifestly and clearly admitted the truth of the allegations against him.

This is article was first published in September 2012 by JollofNews