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Fear After Jammeh's Death Threat   
 
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24-Sep-2009  
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An online petition has been launched in protest at the Gambian president's threat to kill human rights workers.

President Yahya Jammeh told state TV earlier this week he would kill anybody who wanted to "destabilise" The Gambia.

"If you are affiliated with any human rights group, be rest assure that your security is not guaranteed... we are ready to kill saboteurs," he said.

The campaign by a coalition of pressure groups wants the African Union's human rights commission HQ moved from Gambia.

The Open Society Institute, its Justice Initiative and the African Court Coalition are behind the petition.

It quotes Mr Jammeh's speech made before he went to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

"I will kill anyone who wants to destabilise this country," he said.

"If you think that you can collaborate with so-called human rights defenders, and get away with it, you must be living in a dream world. I will kill you, and nothing will come out of it."

The petition says President Jammeh's declaration "leads us to fear for the safety, security, and lives of ourselves and our colleagues who have to work with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, whose headquarters is in Banjul, The Gambia".

The activists' aim is to secure as many signatures as possible from non-governmental organisations involved in the work of the AU's human rights commission before 28 September, when the petition will be forwarded to the African Union.

President Jammeh came to power in a coup in 1994 and has won three multi-party elections since then.

But amid claims of plots to oust him, journalists have been harassed and dozens of people have been arrested and unlawfully detained, human rights groups say.
 
 
Source: BBC/Africa
 
 

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