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Friday, November 27, 2020

Torture claims must be handled professionally—Lawyer Camara

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By Omar Bah Prominent rights defender Lawyer Lamin Camara of the Dandimayo Chambers in Banjul has said that the government of the Gambia will have a great deal of job to get to the bottom of all the allegations of torture. “In trying to redress all these people there has to be total professionalism and impartiality. People must be worried about the changes. The Gambia has changed and it has to be a change for the better and for everybody regardless of your political affiliation and your ethnicity,” he told The Standard in his office. He added: “There has to be justice yes, but also some element of reconciliation, though you cannot just have reconciliation alone that means justice will be sacrificed on the altar of reconciliation”. Mr Camara added that government will need to set up a panel of investigators, comprising the police as well as some members of the former NIA who were not part of these allegations to go to the root of the matter. “Because somebody somewhere may have knowledge of these things happening, where they have happen, who did it, who was involved or on whose instruction,” he said. “I am sure there are people around, some very few people in the National Intelligence Agency who know something about these and are willing to come clean as to what happened,” he added. He said people alleging torture will be asked to go to this panel and lodge their complaints. “After this, the commission will take statements from people, ask questions, investigate and then come up with a major report and recommendation from each and every allegation that they got whether it is torture, disappearance or whatsoever,” he noted. But Camara warned that taking piece meal reports from each and everyone in various police stations is not going to solve the problem. “It will only give them a lot of work to do. A panel will serve as a one-stop shop where you go and lodge your comments, get it investigated and they write a complete report about every aspect of complaints from the general public and send it to the office of the president. Then they can take it up from there”.]]>

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