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Gambians Get a Raw Deal

The political party of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced on Sunday an alliance with the ruling party three months before the presidential election, casting doubt on the willingness to prosecute the former leader for alleged human rights violations. Human rights groups called the alliance a betrayal, according to local media, and questioned the government’s willingness to prosecute Yahya Jammeh. A commission of inquiry into crimes committed during his presidency is due to report its findings to President Barrow in September. Mr. Jammeh took power in 1994 in a bloodless military coup. He ruled the small West African country with an iron fist until January 2017, when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow, a relative unknown at the time. The government then established a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to investigate crimes committed during Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule. The commission heard chilling testimony about state-sanctioned torture, death squads and the climate of terror that Mr. Jammeh maintained, including among those closest to him. Its findings are eagerly awaited by NGOs, which hope that the commission will recommend prosecuting the 56-year-old former dictator.