|Jesse Jackson with former Gambian dissidents Amadou Scattred Janneh (left), a graduate of Knoxville College and the University of Tennessee, and Tamsir Jasseb (right), a Navy veteran of Desert Storm./ Photo by Roy Lewis|
Pressure groups, the Coalition for Change-Gambia (CCG) and the Civil Society Associations- Gambia (CSAG) have issued a statement welcoming the release from prison of Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, national coordinator of the CCG.
Janneh, a former Gambia Information Minister, was serving a life sentence in Gambia’s maximum security wing, Mile 2 after the High Court found him guilty of treason and conspiracy in January 2012.
President Yahya Jammeh decided to pardon him a fourthnight ago after the intervention a renowned American civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson. Janneh and another prisoner, Tamsir Jasseh, both of whom have Gambian and American citizenship were quickly flown to the USA.
The groups commend friends within and outside Gambia who they said “contributed to exert pressure on The Gambian regime to release and expel Dr. Janneh from Gambia.”
CCG and CSAG equally welcome the release of Tamsir Jasseh, a former Director General of the Gambia Immigration Service and veteran of the U.S marine who was sentenced to life for allegedly planning a coup d’etat of the Gambian regime.
“Speaking to colleagues following his release, Dr Janneh confirmed, contrary to popular belief, that both he and Tamsir Jasseh were not pardoned by Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, but were “expelled instead from The Gambia” as citizens of the United States of America,” the pressure groups said.
“Dr. Janneh disclosed there were no previous consultations between them and the regime. And, that their legal representatives or families were not informed. Dr. Janneh added that all the expenses for their expulsion from Gambia were incurred by the Gambia Government,” they added.
Both groups said remain committed as ever before to the struggle to free The Gambia from what they called “political tyranny.” They also said they also remain committed to their founding principles of working to put an “end to dictatorship” in The Gambia.
It could be recalled that the printing of t-shirts with the words “Coalition for Change – The Gambia: End Dictatorship Now” and an alleged Tahrir Square-type planned demo led to the trial and sentencing of Dr. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow and Michael Ucheh Thomas. The later, Thomas, a Nigerian, died while serving his jail time.
“The Coalition for Change The Gambia is particularly concerned about the safety and security of the two contracted t-shirt printers; Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow, who were charged and imprisoned with Dr Janneh,” the statement said. “We once again extend the heartfelt sympathies of Dr Janneh and the entire CCG/CSAG team to the family of Micheal Uche Thomas, the third printer sentenced alongside Dr Janneh who died in the Mile Two Central Prisons.”
They announced “Dr. Amadou S Janneh, accompanied by some CCG and CSAG representatives, will begin overseas travel as early as next week in the effort to seek international support to end the dictatorship in The Gambia.”