[JURIST] A Gambian court on Thursday sentenced eight men—six former army officers and two former high-ranking government officials—to death for their roles in a 2009 coup attempt. The men were charged in March [JURIST report] with conspiring to overthrow the government of President Yahya Jammeh [official website]. The men were found guilty of treason [BBC report] after the prosecution was able to sufficiently show that they had obtained arms and troops from Guinea in order to oust the government. In his closing statement, the state’s chief prosecutor urged the court to set an example [AFP report] with the men in order to prevent future instability in the country. The men will have 30 days to appeal their convictions and sentences.
The Jammeh administration was also the target of a coup attempt in 2006 that resulted in 10 military officers being jailed [BBC report] for threatening to overthrow the government. Critics contend that Jammeh maintains stability in the Gambia by suppressing any signs of dissent. In March, an opposition official complained of frequent incidents of indefinite detention [BBC report] of citizens, including government officials, without charges being filed. In February, Gambia ordered an envoy [Afrol report] from UNICEF [official website] to leave the country. Last September, Jammeh threatened to kill human rights workers [Newstime Africa] who threatened to destabilize his regime.