Gambia Leader Favors Former Dictator Facing Abuse Charges

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Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh.

Photographer: Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images

Gambian President Adama Barrow said he will favor the extradition of his predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, if a commission of inquiry into human-rights abuses during the former ruler’s 22-year reign recommends that he stands trial.

Jammeh’s two-decade rule of the tiny West African nation came to an end in January last year after Senegalese troops and Nigerian fighter jets were sent to the capital, Banjul, to enforce the outcome of Barrow’s election victory the month before. The country’s parliament passed a law in December to establish a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission to probe state crimes committed during Jammeh’s reign, which was characterized by a violent clampdown on dissent and opposition parties and pledges to kill homosexuals.

“I stand for justice for all crimes committed against the population. No one is above the law,” Barrow said in an interview in Banjul on Wednesday. If the commission recommends a trial then Jammeh “will face the full force of the law.”

Read more: Dictator’s legacy looms large in Africa’s smallest nation

In July, Barrow initiated a separate commission of inquiry to identify Jammeh’s assets and probe whether they were legally acquired.

Jammeh, 52, who’s now in Equatorial Guinea, was sanctioned last month by the U.S for alleged human-rights abuses and corruption during his reign. Gambia doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Equatorial Guinea.

(Adds details of second probe in fourth paragraph.)
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