Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live

News

news

UN concerned over Gambia's mass jailing of opposition protesters

UN concerned over Gambia's mass jailing of opposition protesters

Gambia

The United Nations has expressed concern over the mass imprisonment of members of Gambia’s opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) following their participation in peaceful protests in mid-April calling for electoral reforms.

The UN further urged the authorities to investigate all allegations of excessive use of force in the context of the April demonstrations, as well as allegations that some of those arrested were tortured and denied access to medical care.

According to spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, the three-year jail sentences handed to 30 members of the Gambian opposition, including its leader Ousainou Darboe, raised a lot concern with respect to fair trial and political persecution.

We also remain deeply concerned that there has yet to be an impartial, independent and thorough investigation into allegations of excessive use of force in the context of the demonstrations.

‘‘We also remain deeply concerned that there has yet to be an impartial, independent and thorough investigation into allegations of excessive use of force in the context of the demonstrations, and into the arrest and death in State custody of the former secretary of the party,’‘ a statement attributed to him added.

The UN bemoaned how defence lawyers had boycotted court sittings yet trials continued with no representation for accused persons.

On July 20, a High Court in the Gambian capital, Banjul, convicted 19 members of the UDP for charges of unlawful assembly, rioting, holding procession without permission among other charges.

The next day, another High Court in Mansakonko jailed 11 UDP members for the same offences. All those convicted were arrested between April 14 – 16 during protests calling for electoral reforms in a country ruled by President Yahya Jammeh for the past 22 years.

View more