The Gambia's President has announced suspension of the death penalty as the West African country seeks to rebuild its international standing following the removal of its authoritarian ruler last year.
"I will use this opportunity to declare a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in The Gambia, as a first step towards abolition," he said.
President Adama Barrow said in a speech to mark the 53rd anniversary of the country's independence from Great Britain, reports The Independent UK on Monday.
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.
“This is a positive step forward for Gambia when just six years ago people on death row were tragically executed and abolition seemed a pipe dream," said Sabrina Mahtani, an Amnesty International researcher for West Africa.
"We hope Gambia will lead the way, as no Anglophone country in West Africa has yet abolished the death penalty.
"By suspending the death penalty, undertaking a constitutional review process and commencing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Gambia is demonstrating its commitment to break with its past history of human rights abuses.”