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Gambia, 1982-90: 1) Information on the death of Ali Kali Sawareh between December 1983 and March 1984; 2) Information on current restrictions on political activity, particularly on the NCP party; 3) Instances of refugee claimants being returned to Gambia, and what has happened to them; 4) Whether summary or military tribunals for trying government opponents exist

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 January 1990
Citation / Document Symbol GMB3697
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Gambia, 1982-90: 1) Information on the death of Ali Kali Sawareh between December 1983 and March 1984; 2) Information on current restrictions on political activity, particularly on the NCP party; 3) Instances of refugee claimants being returned to Gambia, and what has happened to them; 4) Whether summary or military tribunals for trying government opponents exist, 1 January 1990, GMB3697, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac70a0.html [accessed 28 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

1) Information on the death of Ali Kali Sawareh could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.

2) Current information on the political situation in Gambia is very limited among the available sources. However, please find attached the latest report found among the currently available sources, published by Africa Confidential: "Of leadership and libel" (28 April 1989, pp. 4-5). It deals with the situation of the National Congress Party (NCP).

Regarding restrictions on opposition political activity, various reports [ For example, Amnesty International Reports 1983-1989, (London: Amnesty International, 1983-1989), chapters on Gambia, and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1982-1988, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1983-1989), chapters on Gambia.] indicate that members of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA), considered an illegal organization, have been arrested over the last years, some of them being released soon after their arrest. Also, those who participated in a coup attempt in 1981 have been tried while others have been convicted. One report indicates a politician who defected from the ruling party to form an opposition party was arrested and held for two days in 1986 under charges of possession of official documents. After his detention, he reportedly decided to re-join the ruling party. [ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1986, p. 123; Amnesty International Report 1987, p. 52.]

3) Information on refugee claimants returning to Gambia could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC. In the only case of people in exile returning to Gambia which could be found among the currently available sources for the given time-frame, Amnesty International reported that three persons involved in the 1981 coup attempt and living in self-exile in Cuba returned to Gambia. Two of them were detained and later released, while the third one was sentenced to death, although his sentence was later changed to 20 years in prison. [Amnesty International Report 1986, p. 49; 1987 and 1988, chapters on Gambia.] Another source states that some Gambians who participated in the 1981 coup attempt and living in self-exile would likely be arrested upon their return. [ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, p. 145.]4) Various reports [Amnesty International Reports 1983-1989, (London: Amnesty International, 1983-1989), chapters on Gambia, and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1982-1988, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1983-1989), chapters on Gambia; Keesing's Record of World Events, (London, Longman Publishing Group), various issues.] indicate the establishment of a Special Division of Supreme Court for trying the numerous cases related to the 1981 coup attempt, which reportedly overwhelmed the regular court system, requiring foreign judges and lawyers to participate in the trials. However, the available reports do not indicate that these Special Division reportedly tried the cases summarily.

The same sources indicate that an Emergency Act was enforced after the 1981 coup attempt, being lifted in February 1985. This Emergency Act allowed arrest without charges and temporary detention before trial.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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