An unexpected and eagerly awaited trial by Gambians. German justice began on April 25, 2022 the trial of Bai Lowe, accused of having been part of a death squad responsible for assassinating opponents of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
Bai Lowe, the 46-year-old suspect arrested in Hanover in March 2021, is appearing in court in Lower Saxony for crimes against humanity and murders between 2003 and 2006. He was on that date the driver of an armed forces unit Gambians charged with assassinating critics of the regime of Yahya Jammeh, a dictator who remained in power in Banjul for 22 years.
This unit was used “among other things, to carry out unlawful killing orders. The objective was to intimidate the Gambian people and suppress the opposition”describes the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
Among these crimes, the assassination by bullets on December 16, 2004 of the Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, correspondent for AFP. Aged 58, father of four children, co-founder of the private newspaper The Point, Deyda Hydara was also the Gambia correspondent for the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He was considered the dean of journalists in this small English-speaking country in West Africa.
“This trial is the first to prosecute human rights violations committed in The Gambia under the Jammeh era on the basis of universal jurisdiction”The NGO Human Rights Watch
The accused is also suspected of being an accomplice in the December 2003 assassination attempt on Ousman Sillah, a well-known Banjul lawyer critical of President Jammeh. This trial will “to know why, who and how they tried to kill my father”said at a press conference Amie Sillah, his daughter.
The German prosecution also suspects Bai Lowe of being involved in the death near Banjul airport in 2006 of Dawda Nyassi, considered an opponent of the former Gambian president.