Foreign Office Questions: 4th September 2012

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
In the past few weeks there has been growing concern about the human rights situation in the Gambia. I am very grateful to the Minister for all the assistance that he has given my constituent, Deborah Burns, whose husband is one of those who has been threatened with execution on death row. Can the Minister provide an update on the representations made by the Government and assure us that human rights will be restored in the Gambia?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Henry Bellingham)
We are obviously very concerned about what is going on in the Gambia, because there has been an effective moratorium on the death penalty since 1985. All of those on death row, including General Mbye, the husband of my hon. Friend’s constituent, had effectively had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. We have made very strong representations to the Gambian Government. I will meet Gambian Foreign Minister Tangara in the near future, and we will push them very hard indeed on this matter.