Gambian President Adama Barrow on Sunday announced a moratorium on the death penalty. The decision comes as the West African country attempts to rebuild its international standing following the removal last year of its longtime authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh.
Capital punishment is on the decline across Africa, where governments executed 22 people in 2016 compared to 43 the previous year, according to Amnesty International.
Jammeh, who fled Gambia a year ago after losing his latest re-election bid, drew international criticism in 2012 when his government abruptly executed nine prisoners by firing squad.
Since taking office a year ago, Barrow has tried to repair damage done to Gambia’s reputation by Jammeh’s 23-year rule, which was marked by human rights abuses and spats with foreign governments.
Earlier this month, Gambia rejoined the Commonwealth, which Jammeh withdrew from in 2013, calling it a “neo-colonial institution”.