Gambia 'coup': Ex-minister Janneh jailed

The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh speaks to journalists on 24 November 2011Image source, AFP
Image caption,
President Yahya Jammeh has been accused of cracking down on dissent

A former Gambian information minister has been sentenced to life for plotting to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh.

Amadou Scatred Janneh - who is also a US national - was found guilty of treason and distributing seditious T-shirts.

Three others were sentenced to six years, with hard labour.

President Jammeh - who took power in the tiny West African state in a bloodless coup in 1994 - has been accused of oppressing his critics.

Mr Janneh, 48, was communications minister in 2005 and 2006.

He also used to work as the political and economic affairs officer of the US Embassy in Banjul, capital of The Gambia - a popular tourist destination for Europeans.

The T-shirts the four defendants were accused of distributing last year bore the slogan "Coalition for Change The Gambia, End to Dictatorship Now".

Mr Janneh's lawyers said they will appeal against the verdict, the AFP news agency reports.

President Jammeh was re-elected in December for the fourth time in a widely criticised poll boycotted by West African observers.

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