The Gambia. In February, the Ministry of Justice received two new departments, one with the task of protecting the human rights of citizens, the other created to fight corruption. The appointment of the Human Rights Department could surprise, given that President Yahya Jammeh in 2009 threatened to kill anyone who tried to “destabilize” the country by cooperating with “so-called human rights defenders”. Amnesty International described both 2010 and 2011 The Gambia as a “land of terror”, characterized by disappearances, murders and torture that are not punished.
According to Countryaah official site, three fugitive regime-critical journalists were indicted in July in their absence for treason after spreading T-shirts with the inscription “End of dictatorship in Gambia”. Four other people were arrested in June for the same crime. In Gambia, treason can result in the death penalty.
A former army chief and a former naval commander were sentenced in May to 20 years in prison for involvement in a coup attempt in 2006. The former army chief was already sentenced to death in 2010.
After declaring that “only God can put me off,” Jammeh put his presidential title at stake in general elections in November. He was re-elected with 72% of the vote, against 17% for Ousainou Darboe and 11% for Hamat Bah. The West African cooperation organization ECOWAS had not bothered to send any observers because it considered that the ruling party exposed the voters to such threats and pressures that a free election was impossible. Observers from the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth and the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC, former Islamic Conference) said that there had been some problems in the past, but that the election arrangements themselves were credible.