UN urges Gambia to investigate reports of opposition detainees being denied access to medicare

UN urges Gambia to investigate reports of opposition detainees being denied access to medicare

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged Gambian authorities to investigate accusations that detainees were deprived of medical care following the death of another opposition detainee after reports emerged he had been denied of timely medical care.

Ebrima Solo Krummah, a member of the opposition United Democratic Party died at the Edward Francis’s Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul after undergoing an unsuccessful surgery while under state custody. He was the UDP deputy chairman for Sandu Constituency and arrested during protests that stormed mainland Africa’s smallest country in May 2016. Kurumah was put on trial for showing solidarity with detained comrades of his party.

This is the second UDP member to have died under state custody following April’s arrests against peaceful opposition demonstrators demanding electoral reform. In April, Ebrima Solo Sandeng was arrested and died in state custody following severe torture by Gambian authorities under the orders of President Yahya Jammeh.

The UN Human Rights Commission said other opposition detainees have also reportedly been denied medical care in recent months.

The commission deplore the reported death in custody of Ebrima Solo Kurumah, a member of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), last Saturday and Gambian authorities are being pressed to investigate the death in State custody of Mr. Kurumah and Mr. Sandeng as well as 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. Krummah as well as allegations that detainees are denied access to medical care” says Cécile Pouilly, the commission spokesperson.

Mr. Krummah was among the 30 members of the main opposition party sentenced to three years’ imprisonment last July, following their participation in peaceful demonstrations to call for electoral reform and to protest against the death in State custody of UDP Organizing Secretary Solo Sandeng.

The United States expressed ‘deep concern’ about the death of Ebrima Solo Krummah and urged the government of The Gambia to cease its sustained crackdown on political opposition members and supporters, and to respect the rights of all citizens to freedoms of expression and association without fear of retribution.

(Reporting and writing by Alhagie Jobe, Contribution by Sainey MK Marenah, Editing by Sam Phatey)

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