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‘Basiru Barrow tortured, taken to Mile 2 before killed’

Picture credit: Foroyaa newspaper

A former prison medic has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on Tuesday that late Alieu Bah, a detainee at Mile, has confided in him that late Basiru Barrow was tortured by the junta, brought to Mile 2 before he was executed.

This is in contrast to the narration of the junta who reported at the time that Barrow was involved in a coup and that he died in a fire fight with the soldiers.

Alieu Bah, a survivor of November 11, who was later involved in Kartong attack, got severely sick at the prison, according to Commission eighth witness Babucarr Jatta.

Jatta, a former medic at the notorious prison and now commissioner at Janjanbureh prison, was the one who attended to Bah whom he said was vomiting blood.

He said Bah later confided in him that he was part of the soldiers who were to be executed on November 11 but escaped.

Jatta said Bah told him that they were captured, brought to Mile 2 before they were taken to be executed. He said while they were being taken to Mile 2, Barrow could barely walk.

“He (Alieu Bah) said Barrow was toothless at the time he was brought to Mile 2. He said they were even supporting him… He was in pain,” said Jatta.

Jatta said Bah later told him of November 11 and how they escaped death while others like Basiru Barrow were executed.

Jatta has helped several prisoners while serving as medic at Mile 2 including Ebrima Chongan and Mamat Cham who described his kindness before the Truth Commission.

He said his help was dictated by conscience and love for humanity. Jatta who described the widespread torture at Mile 2 at the time, said he even treated late Sadibu Hydara and Sanna Sabally.

Prison conditions

As it were, so it is: Jatta said little has changed in the condition of prisoners even under the current administration.

As part of his recommendations to the Commission, he said the Gambia Prison Services needs to work on reform, rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners.

“… As for the conditions of the prisons right now, I do not wish for even my animal to be there,” he said.

“I feel like we are marginalized… You come to my office as a commissioner I cannot even give you a chair to sit on…”

He said the Government only have interest in the prison when there is a jailbreak. He lamented lack of basic things at both Mile 2 and Janjanbureh, congestion and low pay of prison officers.

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