Apr 15, 2021, 10:56 AM
Ensuring peace and justice are critical elements in the advancement of any community or nation.
On Tuesday the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC) chipped in and deposited their respective fines amounting to more than D50, 000.
Well one would temp to state that it is because of poverty that most of these prisoners were unable to pay their fine. Suffice it to state that most of these inmates have relatives who can afford their fines, but preferred to use it for other family needs. Coronavirus has devastated global economies and even remotest communities are not spared. Based on that, families prioritise needs.
We understand that most of these released prisoners were convicted of various crimes ranging from stealing, threatening violence, conspiracy to obtain money by false pretense among others.
Well the move is laudable one and another means to decongest our prisons amid coronavirus pandemic that is making live a challenge for countries.
Prisons and detention centers in most African countries are known for chronic overcrowding with access to healthcare and hygiene being a daily struggle. With the emergence of COVID-19 it has particularly become impossible to practice social distancing. The results are becoming devastating as these institutions become the weakest link in the fight against the contagion.
As rightly alluded to by Ansumana Manneh, the director of Gambia Prisons Services, reforms are very crucial in the prison department. It is a fact that most of these convicted inmates were admitted at the prisons at a time they can’t even read or do anything that can benefit them after serving their terms. Yet, some left the prisons after serving their terms having memorised the Holy Qur’an or with gainful skills that they can depend on.
Therefore, we want to commend the GSIC for taking the bold initiative this huge amount as fine to enable their release. We only hope that the released prisoners would become better persons in society and would not repeat or involve in nefarious actions that would land them in such detention centres again. Prisons are generally considered to be reform or correction centres before their re-integration into the society again.
Let these released prisoners be good ambassadors in society. And let them find it easy to integrate into society and engage in lawful activities to be agent of change.
"A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."
The never-ending brutality by police in the country against unarmed civilians each time there is a protest or incident is becoming too much. Police are not only a guardian of the law, but are also expected, as a duty bearer, to respect and protect the rights of all people, including those who are even suspected of breaking the law.