President Adama Barrow’s recent decision to grant clemency to 37 inmates across the country’s correctional facilities continues to generate headlines. More people are making their voice heard, denouncing the fact that “convicted rapists” are part of the clemency recipient list.
“Well, we recognize that the President under our laws has the prerogative of mercy to pardon prisoners convicted and serving sentence,” human lawyer Assan Martin told JollofNews in response to a request for comment.
Up to 37 prisoners have seen their sentence rescinded by the Gambian leader in a move that did not go unnoticed. In less than 72 hours after the presidential decision, names of convicted rapists started to emerge from social media platforms.
Lawyer Martin reminded the authorities that the process of pardoning prisoners should emanate from committee’s advice.
“it is not bad to pardon prisoners especially those of low level categories of crimes and those with sincere remorse for their offences,” he emphasized.
As part of the presidential annual goodwill gesture, advocate Martin raised questions about the pardon granted by President Barrow, asking whether he was really put in the loop.
“It was observed that some prisoners released committed outrageous crimes (murder or rape),” he added. ” This has raised concerns in some quarters.”
According to lawyer Martin, the objective to pardon offenders is not bad but “one would have consider an advice to commute some of their sentences by reduction of sentences/ terms or release on parole if necessary.
“Consequently, the criteria to pardon prisoners remain to be debated. It is important for government to address the root causes of crimes, illicit drugs and youths unemployment for a better and stable society. Government must double its efforts to address these challenges,” he stated.