Human Rights, News

Gambia’s Former Justice Minister Defended Execution Of Death Row Prisoners

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


  1. The headline is unfair and deceptive. Most will assume without reading the article that it is CURRENT news. The media has a responsibility to report events accurately and fairly. I am disappointed with Jollof news attempt to conflate events of such significant national interest.

  2. My Dear Dr Sarr, the headline reads ‘Gambia’s Former Justice Minister Defended Execution Of Death Row Prisoners’. I would have agreed with you if it had read Gambia’s Former Justice Minister Defends Execution Of Death Row Prisoners. In journalism, there is a clear distinction between the two.

    • Jollof news is a premiere online medium that majority of Gambians depend on for information. The average readership level of education is well known. My issue is not with sentence structure, semantics or syntax. It has to do with “what readers take away”.
      You cannot expect the average reader to understand the difference between “Defended” and “Defends”. You are giving us too much credit.
      Overall I am very proud of the work done by your dedicated Team. Its is a great service to our nation. God Bless You.

  3. I support Name and Shame crusade against EX-Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh. Such a person deserve no public office in our country again.

  4. I have two problems, the way the execution was carried out and the state of that mental ill person. This is what concern me using plastic bags for execution is cruel just like using lethal chemical injection which is ban internationally, because it make them suffer severely before it kill. Mental ill according to the report the man has a history of mental problems and was once place in the care of rehabilitation centre which is campama, do this justice minister understand about mental ill people situation? Look this is a illness that goes on and off and in some cases just like if you get attack by fever and need some medical support, this means at the time he was attacking he was not at his full common sense, after the maths he realized.

  5. Quote: “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.”
    Who asked the minister to allow the death row prisoners to go free? The campaign was to defer execution and commute their death sentences to life imprisonment. That’s not allowing them to go free, is it? And to think that such people manned high public office!! Chei Gambia, when will we change?

  6. Mr Jobarteh you have nothing to say. Just keep quite and repent to Allah because you contribute in killing inmates.
    You haven’t know about the constitution of the gambia. You were supporting Yahya Jammeh for your interest.
    It is surprise to many of your family that you were there when they killed inmates.
    You are saying it is legal right to executed those inmates because they have committed serious crimes. Whatever crimes they have committed should serve for life imprisonment.
    Why they have killed them without noticed of Gambian people
    Why should they be dump in old well in Cassamacy region.
    Why their bodies are not return to their families . You have disgrace your family and entirely Jobarteh kunda families.