German court sentences Gambia man to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity News
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German court sentences Gambia man to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity

A German court handed down a life imprisonment sentence to Gambian national Bai Lowe on Thursday after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder for his actions with a death squad known as the Junglers, notorious for targeting adversaries of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. The squad’s victims even included an AFP journalist.

Prosecutors previously accused Bai Lowe of being involved in the murders of lawyers, and systematic oppression and widespread human rights violations during his 22 years in power. His tenure as president was surrounded by government-mandated targeting of journalists, human rights defenders, student leaders, religious leaders, political opposition members, judiciary officials, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and LGBTQ people. 

Reed Brody, a human rights lawyer who works with victims of Jammeh told JURIST that:

The long arm of the law has caught up to Bai Lowe in Germany, just as it’s catching up to Yahya Jammeh’s henchmen all around the world, and as it will hopefully soon catch up to Jammeh himself. Today’s conviction shows that these men can run but they can’t hide.

But Bai Lowe was only a little man. He wasn’t the one who planned these killings. We know that it was Yahya Jammeh himself who was behind these crimes.  The verdict should ecourage the Gambian government to begin the criminal justice process at home. Victims shouldn’t have to go abroad to seek redress for what happened to them in Gambia.

In May 2022 Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dawda A. Jallow, extended governmental approval to prosecute former President Yahya Jammeh for alleged atrocities. Jallow relayed the confirmation while releasing the government’s white paper on the report of the country’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). In 2021, the TRRC delivered its report to President Adama Barrow, recommending the prosecutions of anyone who was associated with atrocities committed during Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years in the presidency.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Lowe was sentenced for war crimes.