Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has joined calls for the Gambia to respect the rights of prisoners. This call follows the death of an opposition activist in jail over the weekend.
According to Cecile Pouilly, spokesperson of the OHCHR, the death in custody of Ebrima Solo Kurumah was deplorable. The UN thus tasked the Yahya Jammeh led government to respect the rights of persons being held in detention.
“We urge the authorities to investigate the death in State custody of Mr. Sandeng and Mr. Kurumah,” said Ms. Pouilly adding that the UN urges the government to also investigate allegations that detainees are denied access to medical care.
We urge the authorities to investigate the death in State custody of Mr. Sandeng and Mr. Kurumah.
The OHCHR had earlier expressed concerns over the imprisonment of opposition activists in the west African country. They added that there had been no proper investigation into allegations of excessive use of force in the context of the demonstrations calling for electoral reforms.
The deceased (Kurumah) had alleged that he was denied medical help on several occasions while in detention, he subsequently died after a surgical operation for an undisclosed ailment at a government facility.
Additionally, there are reports that other detainees have also been denied medical care in recent months.
The United States had also called on the Gambian government to release all political prisoners and respect the rights of its citizens following news of the death of Solo Kurumah.
Kurumah, a member of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), is the second member of the party to die whiles in detention.
Solo Sandeng, the Chairman of UDP’s youth wing also died while in custody.