Gambia Ex-Dictator Survives Extradition for Aids Cure Scam

Banjul — HIV/AIDS activists have slammed Equatorial Guinea for refusing to serve legal papers on former Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, whom they want prosecuted for his alleged claims he could cure the virus.

Jammeh has been exiled in Equatorial Guinea since his electoral defeat in 2016.

The legal papers were to formally notify him of a civil lawsuit filed in the Gambian High Court by three survivors of his so-called HIV and AIDS Treatment Programme.

Claimants are seeking damages following a declaration by the High Court that they suffered cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's Equatorial Guinea government has indicated it could not serve Jammeh the papers because he was "unavailable."

Sarah Bosha, AIDS-Free World's Legal and Research Advisor on HIV and Human Rights, denounced the stance.

"One ruthless dictator is protecting another ruthless dictator," she charged.

"The international community must not stand silent in the face of such lawless behaviour."

The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa said it was exploring further options.

"We are determined to see Yahya Jammeh served," said Oludayo Fagbemi the organisation's legal officer.

In 2007, Jammeh announced he could cure AIDS with a secret herbal concoction.

He conscripted infected Gambians to stay in a state facility for "treatment."

Jammeh, who has no medical training, ordered them to stop taking antiretroviral drugs.

Some "treatment" sessions were broadcast on television.

The controversial programme ran until 2016 when Jammeh lost elections.

Allegations of rape have also been leveled against him after the end of his 24-year reign.

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