Gambia: court frees 14 other opposition protesters

Gambia: court frees 14 other opposition protesters

At least 14 opposition United Democratic Party supporters who are currently on trial for staging an unauthorized protest since May have been freed on bail, after a High Court Judge said that their continued detention has nothing to do with the national security of the country.

This follows the freeing of the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and 18 others on Monday who were arrested for leading an unauthorized protest demanding the release of their party member who was later confirmed to have died in state custody.

The 14 people released today have held a peaceful demonstration during the trial of the opposition leader and his executive members who were arrested on April 16.

The group have applied for bail but were rejected on grounds of national security though their lawyers said their offenses are bailable under Gambian law.

The bailed supporters might not go back to jail again because Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow who have won Jammeh at polls has promised to free all political prisoners when he takes over the government in January.

UDP is one of the parties in the coalition that won the presidential elections. The presiding judge, Justice Ottaba, has granted the 14 opposition detainees bail because of that “change of circumstances” since the some of the party members might be called to serve their country.

They are being tried on charges of unlawful assembly, riot, procession without a permit among other related offenses, charges they denied.

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