Gambia pulls out of Commonwealth

October 3, 2013 6:04 am
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In 2010, the EU, the country’s top aid donor, cancelled 22 million euros ($30 million) in budget support for Banjul because of concerns over human rights and governance.

In August 2012, Jammeh came under attack from Amnesty International and others for sending nine prisoners to the firing squad and promising many more would go the same way.

Many top officials have found themselves charged with treason, often related to coup plots which observers have said are a sign of paranoia by Jammeh, who has woven an aura of mysticism around himself, dressing in billowing white robes and always clutching his Koran.

Last year he warned foreign diplomats that his country would not be “bribed” with aid to accept homosexuality.

“If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it. We don’t need your aid because as far as I am the president of the Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country,” he said.

In January this year Jammeh accused the European Union of trying to destabilise Gambia, after the EU set out a 17-point checklist of demands for reforms.

They included calls for Gambia to abolish the death penalty and to re-open newspapers and radio stations closed down by the authorities.

The president regularly insists that he will not bow to external pressures for reform.

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