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Gambian to face trial in Germany over AFP reporter murder – Expat Guide to Germany

The trial begins in Germany on Monday of a Gambian man accused of being a part of a loss of life squad that assassinated opponents of former dictator Yahya Jammeh, together with an AFP journalist.

The suspect, recognized by media as Bai Lowe, is accused of crimes towards humanity, homicide and tried homicide, together with the 2004 killing of AFP correspondent Deyda Hydara.

Lowe was arrested in Hanover in March 2021 and can seem in court docket within the close by city of Celle.

The trial is “the first to prosecute human rights violations committed in Gambia during the Jammeh era on the basis of universal jurisdiction”, in line with Human Rights Watch.

Common jurisdiction permits a overseas nation to prosecute crimes towards humanity, warfare crimes and genocide, no matter the place they had been dedicated.

Lowe is accused of being concerned in two murders and one tried homicide whereas working as a driver for the hit squad referred to as the Junglers between December 2003 and December 2006.

“This unit was used by the then-president of Gambia to carry out illegal killing orders, among other things” with the intention of “intimidating the Gambian population and suppressing the opposition,” in line with federal prosecutors.

Hydara, 58, was gunned down in his automotive on the outskirts of the Gambian capital Banjul on December 16, 2004.

Lowe is accused of serving to to cease Hydara’s automotive and driving one of many killers in his personal car.

– Controversial column –

Hydara was an editor and co-founder of the unbiased day by day The Level and a correspondent for AFP for over 30 years.

The daddy-of-four additionally labored as a Gambia correspondent for the NGO Reporters With out Borders (RSF) and was thought of a doyen amongst journalists within the tiny West African state.

In his newspaper The Level, he had a extensively learn column, “Good morning, Mr President”, wherein he expressed his views on Gambian politics.

In accordance with investigations by RSF, Hydara was being spied on by Gambian intelligence companies simply earlier than his loss of life.

Hydara was a tenacious and “really stubborn” journalist, in line with his son Baba Hydara, 45.

“He always made sure that he got sources about things happening and that helped him with his column,” Baba Hydara informed AFP.

“There’s a lot of expectation and this is just a first battle won but the war is still on,” he mentioned of the trial, expressing a hope that Jammeh may even “have (his) day in court”.

Prosecutors additionally accuse Lowe of driving members of the Junglers to a location in Banjul in 2003 to assassinate lawyer Ousman Sillah, who survived the assault with severe accidents.

His daughter Amie Sillah informed a press convention forward of the trial that she hoped it could make clear “why, who and how they tried to kill my father”.

– ‘Huge step’ –

In a 3rd incident in 2006, Lowe is accused of driving members of the unit to a web site close to Banjul airport the place they shot and killed Dawda Nyassi, a suspected opponent of the president.

Jammeh dominated Gambia with an iron fist for 22 years however fled the nation in January 2017 after dropping a presidential election to relative unknown Adama Barrow.

He refused to acknowledge the outcomes however was compelled out by a preferred rebellion and fled to Equatorial Guinea.

In July 2019, three former members of the Junglers, Malick Jatta, Omar Jallow and Amadou Badjie, admitted to Hydara’s killing.

All three former hitmen had been free of military custody two weeks after their look earlier than Gambia’s Reality, Reconciliation and Reparations Fee (TRRC).

Lowe is the third alleged confederate of Jammeh to be detained overseas.

The opposite suspects are Gambia’s former inside minister, Ousman Sonko, underneath investigation in Switzerland since 2017, and one other former Jungler, Michael Sang Correa, indicted in June 2020 in the USA.

The instances towards them are “a huge step for finding truth and justice”, mentioned Babaka Tracy Mputu of the human rights NGO TRIAL Worldwide.

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