Partisans of Gambian political prisoners protest at the Supreme Court for trial in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Amnesty calls for release of other political detainees

Amnesty International has called for the release of other political detainees, including 14 opposition protesters who are in court for taking part in a protest in May, demanding the release of UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and the return of the corpse of an opposition activist tortured to death in custody.

The watchdog also called for the release of two religious clerics who are jailed on an island in northcentral Gambia.

“We must also not forget others, prisoners of conscience who still languish in jail simply for having expressed their opinion or participated in peaceful protests,” said Amnesty. “These include three Imams arrested by the security forces over a year ago and not seen since. Their only ‘crime’ – presenting a petition to the government.”

Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International West Africa researcher said there is a huge obligation now for the future administration to transform the human rights situation in Gambia.

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh who has been accused of rights violations was defeated in last week’s presidential elections. Jammeh has conceded since and expected to hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow in January.

UDP leader Ousainou Darboe with 19 others were released from prison after an Appeals Court granted them bail on Monday.

Darboe has called for a truth and reconciliation committee, which the UN said it will support.

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