Check records before pardoning

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It would have been a terrible mistake had SveinÅge Sandåker, the Norwegian pedophile returned to his home country after benefitting from a Presidential pardon.

Mr. Sandåker, a man of such a toxic legacy and horrible record of child abuse will now stay to finish his jail term amidst public outcry over his pardoning.

He was part of the seven convicts pardoned by President Barrow a day before EidulAdha prayer only to have his pardon reversed. But first, who should be blamed for his pardoning? – Is it the president or the committee that recommended his pardoning? Even if these questions remain unanswered, it would have been a serious issue for the victims and those decent Gambians who are ready to die in protecting our values.

The Gambia is a secular state – with different religions operating at their free wills. Our cultures and values are diverse but interlinked and we are bound to protect them to death.

Mr. Sandåker had committed a crime or even waged a war against our values that have been so long protected by ordinary brave men and women of such a decent country. So it would have been a serious mistake had he left the country without government retracting its decision of pardoning him.

One thing for sure is that his victims and those that are in defence of our values would never forgive Mr. Sandåker.

He was sentenced to a three-year jail term and ordered to pay a D600,000 fine in 2012 for abusing six children.  The youngest victim was about three years at the time. But considering the magnitude of the offence and the sentence passed onto Mr. Sandåker, one could only conclude that he was very lucky even after it was extended to another three years for his inability to pay his fine.

We therefore recommend that due diligence must be done to the record of prisoners before benefiting from any presidential pardon. 

“Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons...”

Travis Bradberry