By Muhammed Sailu Bah and Suwaibou Touray The President Jammeh of the Republic of the Gambia, said he has pardoned those convicts sentenced to death or are serving life imprisonment from 1994 to 2013. He made this announcement yesterday, Wednesday, in his speech to mark the 21st anniversary of the 22 July military takeover of government which brought him to power in 1994.Addressing a crowd comprising the members of the security forces on parade, government officials, ruling APRC party supporters, civil servants, school children and other groups, President Jammeh said he has a very important announcement to make. President Jammeh said both Islam and Christianity have emphasized forgiveness. He said now at age 50, many people in his administration from 1994 to date have committed various offences some of which are capital crimes “but if I don’t forgive then I’m not a good leader,” he added. He announced that he has pardoned all those convicted of treason from 1994 to 2013. He added that, he has also pardoned all those who are convicted of murder and have served 10 years or above. He further said that the drug offence convicts, who are not habitual offenders or repeaters and have served 5 years or more, for hard drugs, and 3 years or more, for cannabis, are all pardoned. The president added that all those pardoned should be released before the Jumah prayers on Friday, 24 July, 2015. The Gambian President warned that of all those who are going to be pardoned “they must never be on the wrong side of the law for the next ten years, otherwise they will be in a problem.” He, however, said there are some exceptions to these mass pardons of murder convicts, citing four cases as not benefiting from the gesture. These, he said, are the man who was convicted of murdering a woman in a farm, the one called ‘Ayatollah’ or Hydara, convicted for killing his first wife, those guilty of infanticide, and those people who killed a British national. Apparently after finishing his speech and stepping down from the podium, President Jammeh immediately returned to add this “….and a few of them from the European countries, they lied for 21 years because we have been progressing. They are liars. I forgive all of you, whether they lied or ran away or escaped from a coup plot, you are all pardoned.” This presidential pardon, however, does not cover those who were recently convicted by a court martial for their alleged involvement in the 30 December 2014 insurgency.]]>
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