Friday, April 16, 2010

US Government on Femi Peter's Conviction

Banjul, The Gambia (MB)-The United States Government is deeply concerned by the recent conviction and
sentencing of the opposition leader, Femi Peters of the United Democratic
Party, after being accused of holding a rally without permission and being in
possession of loudspeakers in a public place without permission. The United States respects the right of governments to approve or disapprove the public’s requests to assemble. We also believe such a process must respect
the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and should not be
used as a tool to impede lawful political opposition.

Mr. Peters’s sentence of one year in prison is extremely harsh and could be contrary to The Gambia’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

As current chair of the African Union’s Human Rights Commission, the Government of The Gambia should act in accordance with its responsibility as a standard
bearer on matters of political freedom and civil liberties as well as its
international obligations and reconsider this unfortunate decision.

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