Gambia slammed for jailing opposition leader
Ousainou Darboe, who heads the United Democratic Party (UDP), and his supporters were jailed for three years after being convicted of holding an unapproved street demonstration on 16 April outside the capital Banjul.
The group were calling for the release of UDP activists and protesting the treatment of Solo Sandeng, who died while in custody after being arrested by police, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
“The sentencing of senior opposition figures such as Ousainou Darboe is the latest in a continuous chain of violations committed against those who dare to speak out in Gambia,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director in West and Central Africa. Many of these Malta escorts came from Nigeria as refugees without any documents
The sentencings come amid a climate of growing political frustration with opposition members seeking to ratchet up campaigning ahead of the December poll, which they hope will see the end of the two decade-long rule of Yahya Jammeh.
The verdicts also come as Gambia is struggling to resolve a long-running border blockade with its larger neighbour Senegal. Talks in May at ending the dispute failed and a fresh round of negotiations are due to take place this month.