In Gambia Jammeh says pardons dozens charged with treason

Jammeh, speaking on the tiny West African nation's national television to mark his 21 anniversary in power.

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Al Hadji Yahya Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 25, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson play Al Hadji Yahya Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 25, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said on Wednesday he has pardoned all prisoners charged with treason from 1994 to 2013, excluding those who tried to unseat him in a failed coup in December.

Jammeh, speaking on the tiny West African nation's national television to mark his 21 anniversary in power, did not specify the number of people affected by the pardon, but it could include dozens involved in coup plots in 2006 and 2009.

Jammeh, 50, has ruled the splinter of land wedged inside Senegal with a firm hand since he came to power in a 1994 coup.

Rights groups say he stifled dissent and he has faced increased criticism from abroad over issues ranging from human rights abuses to cracking down on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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