Amnesty International is calling for Gambia to be suspended from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
In its latest report, the rights group says that the west African nation should be suspended from the regional bloc over the ongoing crackdown on the opposition.
The report further calls for the release of dozens of political prisoners and investigations into torture allegations.
“ECOWAS should speak out on the deplorable situation in the country and engage with the Gambian authorities to secure the release of political prisoners… If the Gambian government refuses to comply, ECOWAS should consider suspension until Gambia’s obligations are met,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
Amnesty added that people interviewed in the country spoke of a general climate of fear in which the majority of people dare not openly speak out against the government.
The Gambian government and ECOWAS are due to meet in Dakar, Senegal on Saturday.
Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh has ruled the nation with an iron fist and has recently come under criticism from rights groups and the UN over the treatment of dissenting voices in the country.
The tiny West African nation is set to hold presidential elections in December and opposition groups have called for reforms to enable the elections to be free and fair.