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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August 2007, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Hard labour for Gambia coup plot
President Yahya Jammeh
Mr Jammeh's administration is accused of harassing opponents
Gambia's High Court has sentenced three suspected coup plotters to 20 years' hard labour for treason.

They were among more than 20 men originally charged with attempting in March 2006 to overthrow the government of President Yahya Jammeh.

The three men, an ex-chief of police, a ex-immigration director and a religious scholar, all denied the charges. A fourth suspect was acquitted.

Ten ex-army officers have already been sentenced to 10 years for the plot.

The suspected mastermind of the coup, former army chief of staff Col Ndure Cham, has fled the country.

President Jammeh, who came to power in a coup, was re-elected last September.

Gambia has been relatively stable under Mr Jammeh but his administration has come under increasing criticism for arresting opposition activists and a crackdown on press freedom.

A month after the coup plot was unearthed, the government said five of the suspects had escaped from custody while being transported to a prison 200km from the capital.

Correspondents say nothing has been heard of them since, prompting fears that they may have been executed.




SEE ALSO
Gambia jail terms for coup plot
20 Apr 07 |  Africa
Gambia's 'coup plotters' escape
05 Apr 06 |  Africa
Arrests over Gambia 'coup plot'
28 Mar 06 |  Africa
Country profile: The Gambia
04 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

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