Concerns over the treatment of political detainees are leading to reprehensive calls for the West African nation of The Gambia to release all political detainees, most of whom were opposition supporters arrested in April and May during rare protests in the small nation.
The United Kingdom and Germany called on Gambian authorities to release and investigate the mistreatment of prisoners in a credible and transparent way after the UN Rights Commission said it received reports of the death in state custody of an opposition activist, Ebrima Kurummah and that some of the political detainees are being denied needed medical care.
At least one other senior opposition leader, the UDP’s Ebrima Solo Sandeng died of torture wounds a night after his arrest in April.
The UK and Germany now wants the accusations of torture in prisons to be investigated and ensure the humane treatment of detainees.
Two UN Rapporteurs said torture and extra judicial executions in The Gambia’s prisons are prevalent.
The United Kingdom has repeated raised concerns over reports of excessive violence and ill treatment of those in custody and expressed dismay over the severity of the sentencing of the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe with at least 50 others last month.
Justice Minister Mama Fatima Singhateh said law enforcement officials do not use excessive force and defended their firing of live round, teargas and beating of unarmed protesters to be within the law.
The Gambians are expected to vote in December for a new president or give President Yahya Jammeh a fifth term. The U.S. says it will support credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country. Gambian authorities are urged to create an inclusive environment that allows all political parties, and their supporters, the ability to participate in the electoral process without hindrance.