About Michael O'Reilly

Michael O'Reilly is the Senior Campaign Director, Individuals at Risk at Amnesty International USA.
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Gambia’s Execution Spree: “We Don’t Know Who Will Be Next!”

gambia executions protest

Protesters gather outside the Gambian embassy in Senegal on August 30, 2012 to demand President Yahya Jammeh halt the mass execution of prisoners. (Photo AFP/GettyImages)

While many nations have eliminated the threat of execution by abolishing the death penalty, the president of the Gambia is taking a very different and far more troubling approach.  President Yahya Jammeh pledged recently in a televised broadcast to empty his country’s death row by executing all its prisoners by mid-September.  This West African nation about the size of Connecticut had not executed anyone in more than a quarter of a century.  In the past week alone, authorities have executed at least nine people.

A rising number of organizations and governments around the world are calling on President Jammeh to stop the executions, including the Gambia’s neighbor, Senegal, along with the African Union, the European Union, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Amnesty International.


5 Countries Where Being a Journalist Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

17 journalists have been killed so far in 2012 and there are currently 179 journalists imprisoned around the world.

Low pay, long hours, and dwindling job opportunities are professional challenges faced by many journalists.  For some, however, the risks can be considerably steeper.

At least 17 journalists have been killed so far in 2012 and there are currently 179 journalists imprisoned around the world because of their work.

These numbers only begin to describe the risks faced by journalists, bloggers, filmmakers and others who dare bring to light uncomfortable truths that powerful interests would prefer to conceal.  Most of those detained or killed were reporting on human rights failings in their country.

Today on World Press Freedom Day (May 3), here is a brief look at five countries where people risk much in the service of truth: