Gambia urged by UN expert to stop executions

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The government of the Gambia has been urged to stop the execution of 39 prisoners in the country.

The appeal has come from Christof Heyns, the UN independent expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, after nine prisoners were reportedly killed by firing squad on Sunday.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN independent expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has strongly condemned the executions of the nine prisoners in the Gambia.

Christof Heyns says they undermine previous steps taken to abolish capital punishment in the West African country where the last official execution was in 1985.

Heyns is concerned that death sentences were imposed in violation of major international standards, including the most serious crimes provisions.

He also points out that the executions were carried out in secrecy away from the public and did not meet the requirements for transparency.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 42″

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