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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

To be released or incarcerated?

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The revelation that Justice Minister Abubacarr Baa Tambadou had recommended the immediate release of the three junglers who testified at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) sparked a heated debate in the country both on traditional and new media.

Many commentators are of the view that releasing these confessed killers will tantamount to a mockery of the sufferings and pain of the victims.

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There are countless Gambians whose loved ones were either killed or maimed and most of those atrocities are blamed on the group called the junglers.

Many citizens are of the view that as these junglers willingly collaborated with the Truth Commission with a view to helping the country establish the truth about what happened here in the twenty-two years the country was ruled by Yahya Jammeh; and to eventually effect reconciliation and foster development, they deserve the chance to be freed pending the recommendations of the Commission.

In support of their view, they quote the constitutional provision that no one should be held in custody beyond seventy-two hours without being charged in a court of law.

They say that these junglers have been in custody for the better part of two and a half years and therefore should be released.

The critics of the planned release say that murder is a capital offence and therefore unbailable. They say that it is unwise, unsafe and insensitive to release these killers into society as if everything is fine.

They say that this will be a mockery of the feelings of the victims of Yahya Jammeh and his regime who are still struggling to come to terms with what happened to their loved ones.

In a bid to explain the reasoning that informed his decision, the justice minister on Monday told journalists that the release of the junglers is in the ultimate interest of the victims.

He said that as these people have willingly cooperated with the Truth Commission and helped the country understand what really happened, they can be released pending the recommendations of the TRRC.

The debate is far from over and people are still airing their views on the issue. It would be prudent for the government to consult widely before going ahead and making a decision.

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