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Rev Jackson negotiates release of U.S. Citizens held in The Gambia

Rev. Jessie Jackson and President of Gambia Dr. Alhaji Yahya Jammeh

Rev Jackson negotiates release of U.S. Citizens held in The Gambia

By Butch Wing

     BANJUL, THE GAMBIA — After a face-to-face appeal by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson recently, the President of Gambia Dr. Alhaji Yahya Jammeh agreed to release two American citizens into Rev. Jackson’s custody who were serving long prison sentences in the West Africa nation and allow them to return to the United States with Jackson on Sept. 18, 2012. The two men will return to the U.S. by plane with Rev. Jackson from The Gambia Sept.19.

    One of the Americans, Amadou Scattred Janneh, a former professor at the University of Tennessee, is serving a life sentence for treason. 

    Janneh has dual American and Gambia citizenship as does the other imprisoned American, Tamsir Jasseh, who was serving a 20-year sentence for treason.  Tamsir is also a U.S. veteran and served in Desert Storm.

    President, Dr. Jammeh, said, because of his respect for Jackson, “a renowned” civil rights leader, he would allow the men to leave Gambia with Jackson on a flight to Brussels and then on to New York.

    The President also agreed to extend indefinitely a moratorium on the death penalty and the execution of the 38 death row prisoners, and re-affirmed his commitment to allow the United Nations to investigate the disappearance of a Gamian newspaper reporter, shortly after being arrested by local authorities six years ago.

    Rev. Jackson stated, “As a special joy, being able to take two Americans back home to their families.  It was not a legal, but humanitarian plea. Those once scheduled to die are now set to live. Those serving sentences of 20 years to life, are now scheduled to go home to their families.  For that we thank God.”

    This is the sixth time Rev. Jackson has traveled abroad to negotiate the release of U.S. citizens and people from other countries held captive – in Syria, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Cuba and Liberia, and now The Gambia.

    US Ambassador to Gambia, Edward “Ned” Alford, applauded Rev. Jackson’s successful mission, saying that “Jackson came as a private citizen. We very much welcomed his visit and his effort. He (Jackson) has a good track record of doing humanitarian interventions, and this is another one.”


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