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Two American citizens were once imprisoned in the country of Gambia, and thanks to Rev. Jesse Jackson, they are coming back home. Rev. Jesse Jackson, who led the effort to secure their release, escorted the men back to the United States.
“This release means the door has been opened,” Jackson told Fox News. “This is a tremendous opening for new life and new hope.”
Amadou Janneh and Tamsir Jasseh were in prison and hoping to be released. The US State Department had been working with the government in Gambia for quite some time, but matters were advanced quite directly when Rev. Jesse Jackson held face-to-face negotiations with Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
“The news said Reverend Jackson had secured the release of two American citizens,” Jasseh said after the release, “And I knew who those two were!”
Both Janneh and Jasseh were born in Gambia and became American citizens later down the road. Janneh moved to the US in 1983 and graduated from Knoxville College and obtained a PhD at The University of Tennessee.
“I was living there. I was contributing,” Janneh said. “I wanted to have a voice.”
Janneh had returned to Gambia and served as director of communications for the government. He was arrested in 2011 for printing anti-government slogans such as “End Dictatorship Now.” He was sentenced to life in prison for treason and had served 15 months in prison.
Jasseh studied at Georgia State University and served in the United States Navy. He eventually took a job with the Gambian police and eventually became the country’s Director of Immigration. He was arrested for driving a man accused of trying to overthrow President Jammeh to the Senegal border. He was given 20 years in prison and had been incarcerated for 20 years before his release.
The men were in the “Two Mile” prison, locked up for 20 hours a day, in a four by eight cell.
“We had no toilet, only a pot,” Janneh said to Fox News. “And we had to clean it ourselves,” added Jasseh.