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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

We were used as experiments — Jammeh’s HIV patients

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By Mustapha Darboe

The HIV/AID patients of Yahya Jammeh are initiating a legal action against the former ruler as victims of his 22-year rule join hands to secure his extradition from Equatorial Guinea and eventual prosecution.
Ousman Sowe, a patient in Jammeh’s first batch of “alternative treatment”, has said they were used as lab rats and only given a consent form after several doses were administered.

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“As patients we have the right to consent to any form of treatment, which we were denied… Realizing that mishap, they came retrospectively trying to get us to sign consent forms under some form of duress,” Sowe said.

“Because there were armed soldiers around us and knowing the kind of regime we were all familiar with, no one can say no. We have been subjected to various kinds to human rights abuses.”

Sowe and three of his other colleagues were at Kairaba over the weekend to join a coalition of civil society activists, international lawyers and rights organizations who launched a campaign to bring Jammeh to justice.
Jammeh said his cocktail of traditional medicine works and his claims were supported by some mainstream doctors, some of whom are still practicing in the country.

Jammeh, accused to have committed series of crimes including crimes against humanity, torture and disappearances, fled to Equatorial Guinea following his December election defeat by President Adama Barrow.

The HIV patients who have come out to speak about their alleged abuses under Jammeh have joined over 400 other victims, some of whom have lost their relatives like the Sandeng family.

The HIV patients are being aided legally by the AIDS Free World. “Our human rights were violated during our stay under the treatment from January 2007 to July 2007,” Sowe said.

The victims that gave their testimonies were Imam Baba Leigh, Amadou Scattred Janneh, Nana-Jo N’dow and Ayeesha Jammeh. Dr Janneh said they will ensure that they the cost for Equatorial Guinea for Keeping Jammeh.

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