Gambia's Bai Lowe holds a folder in front of his face at a regional court in Celle, Germany, on April 25, 2022. The court sentenced Lowe to life imprisonment on November 30, 2023, for his role in the murder of Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara. (Ronny Hartmann/Pool Photo via AP)

CPJ welcomes conviction of death squad driver in murder of Gambian editor Deyda Hydara

Durban, November 30, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Thursday’s conviction in Germany of a member of former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh’s death squad for the 2004 murder of Gambian editor Deyda Hydara.

“The German court’s conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of death squad driver Bai Lowe is an important first step for the family of Deyda Hydara and all those seeking justice and accountability for the crimes against humanity perpetrated by then Gambian president Jahya Jammeh and his murderous ‘junglers’,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator.

“But Jammeh, not only his foot soldiers, must stand trial for his reign of terror. Justice will only prevail when Jammeh is extradited from his exile in Equatorial Guinea and faces charges in Gambia’s special criminal court.”

A German regional court found Lowe guilty of crimes against humanity, murder, and attempted murder for his role as a driver for Jammeh’s so-called junglers under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows a country to prosecute crimes against humanity regardless of where they were committed. Lowe was the first person accused of human rights violations during Jammeh’s dictatorship to be tried outside Gambia.