12th September, 2012
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and two Nigerians on death row in The Gambia, Michael Ifunanya and Stanley Agbaeze, have taken their case to the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja asking the court to urgently stop their impending execution.
SERAP says the two Nigerians are among the 48 prisoners in the country awaiting execution.
The group further said it decided to take the action because despite several pleas, the government of the country has continued to secretly execute some prisoners.
Already, it said the country’s government had executed nine prisoners secretly.
The group gave the names of the nine persons executed by the government ad Lamin B. Darboe; Alieu Bah; Lamin Jarju; Dawda Bojang; Abubacarr Yarbo; Abdoulie Sonko; Lamin F. Jammeh; Gibril Bah and Taraba Samba.
In a suit with number ECW/CCJ/APP/11/12 filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, against the Gambian government, SERAP and the Nigerians are alleging that the threat of execution of the prisoners while they have been denied the right to appeal “violates their right to right life; to due process of law.
The group also said it violated the prisoners’ rights to access justice and judicial independence, and fair hearing.
According to the plaintiffs, “without allowing them to exhaust their right of appeal, the Gambian government has threatened the plaintiffs on or about 15 August, 2012 to execute them and all other persons on death row in The Gambia.
“In spite of several appeals made to the Gambian government by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other organisations, the government carried out the threat and secretly executed nine persons on death row in August 2012.
“The Gambian government has threatened to carry out the secret and illegal execution of the Nigerians and other remaining persons on death row by September 2012.
“But the Gambian parliament has not passed any memorandum endorsing the execution of the Nigerians, as required by Section 81 of the constitution of the Gambia,” the plaintiffs argued.