AP: Gambians file suit against ex-leader over alleged HIV ‘cure’

SOURCE: Associated Press
By Carley Petesch
May 31, 2018

DAKAR, Senegal — Three survivors of a supposed HIV treatment program run by Gambia’s former leader Yahya Jammeh featuring what he called an herbal remedy “cure” filed a lawsuit Thursday against him, claiming they suffered under the forced regimen.

This is the first time Jammeh has been sued in a Gambian court over alleged abuses during his 22-year rule of this tiny West African nation, the advocacy group AIDS-Free World said.

Jammeh’s program was “the most egregious premeditated assault on people living with HIV and AIDS in the history of the global AIDS crisis,” said Sarah Bosha, the group’s legal research and policy associate.

Survivors Fatou Jatta, Lamin Ceesay and Ousman Sowe filed the lawsuit at the high court in the capital, Banjul. They seek financial damages and a declaration that their rights were violated.

“My experience in the presidential treatment program was a horror,” Jatta said in the AIDS-Free World statement. “I could have lost my life.”

Jammeh in 2007 declared his AIDS “cure” and launched the program, ordering patients to live in a facility and submit to his “treatment regimen” under armed guards’ surveillance.