EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Three survivors of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh’s fraudulent and destructive HIV and AIDS “treatment programme” have filed a legal action against him at the country’s High Court in Banjul.
Fatou Jatta, Ousman Sowe, and Lamin “Moko” Ceesay filed a suit against Mr. Jammeh on Thursday seeking financial damages for harm suffered and a declaration from the High Court that their human rights were violated. The civil action, which marks the first time Mr. Jammeh is being sued in Gambian courts for abuses he committed while he led the country, is supported by the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World in partnership with the Gambian-based Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA).
Combeh Gaye of the Gambian law firm Antouman A.B. Gaye and Co. is representing the three claimants.
In 2007, after announcing that he could cure AIDS with a secret herbal concoction, Jammeh conscripted Gambians living with HIV to reside in a state facility under the surveillance of armed guards and to submit to a “treatment” regimen. Many Gambians who entered Mr. Jammeh’s programme were members of HIV and AIDS support groups. Jammeh ordered his “patients” to cease taking antiretroviral drugs, an action that posed grave threats to their health.
Instead, he had them drink herbal concoctions that often made them violently ill. He also slathered his concoctions on the patients’ partially nude bodies while chanting prayers. Select sessions were broadcast on Gambian television without the consent of the victims, some of whom hadn’t yet informed friends or family of their HIV status. Jammeh has no medical training. International health experts roundly condemned his “cure” as quackery. The program ran from 2007 until 2016, when Jammeh lost a national election.