Human Rights

Reactions To German Court Verdict

Campaigners, human rights activists welcomed Thursday the guilty verdict handed down in the case of a former member of Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad. Bai Lowe has been slapped with life sentence by a court in Celle, not far away from Stuttgart, for his role in extrajudicial killings carried out by the notorious “Junglers.”

Contacted by telephone, one of the country’s leading human rights campaigners, Fatou Jagne Senghore, said it is a step in the right direction.

“No matter how long it takes, universal jurisdictions will always prevail,” she told JollofNews in response to a request for comment.

Former soldier Bai Lowe was part of a patrol team that was linked to extrajudicial killings. Some Junglers, who testified before the truth commission, confessed their crimes but they were quick to add they acted at the direction of former President Jammeh.

Fatou Jagne Senghore led Article 19 West Africa for two decades and was instrumental in promoting human rights, including freedom of the press across the region and beyond.

She described the guilty verdict as an “important signal in the fight against impunity” and expressed hope that victims’ families will now have a sense of justice.

Campaigner Fatou Jagne Senghore

“The long arm of the law has caught up to Bai Lowe in Germany, just as it’s catching up to Yahya Jammeh’s henchmen all around the world, and as it will hopefully soon catch up to Jammeh himself. These men can run but they can’t hide,” renowned campaigner Reed Brody told JollofNews in an interview via the social messaging platform WhatsApp.

Far from absolving Bai Lowe from any wrongdoing, the former Human Rights Watch (HRW) lawyer called on the public to beat in mind that Lowe “was only a little man, a man at the very bottom of the chain of responsibility. It wasn’t Bai Lowe who planned these killings.”

As Gambia government has appointed a Special Prosecutor for Jammeh’s related crimes, Kaddyjatou Kuyateh called on the authorities to do more in suspending security officials allegedly linked with gross human rights violations.

As a former Victim Support Coordinator at the truth commission, she said they not hold public functions until their inculpability is proven before a court of law.

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