A Gambian Senior opposition member has been released after spending three years in jail for ‘preparing an asylum document’ for some youths fleeing the country.
Amadou Sanneh, the former accountant general of The Gambia and treasurer of the former leading opposition party, the UDP was tortured and handed a five-year jail time by the government of erstwhile President Yahya Jammeh.
Rights groups have called for the sedition conviction of Mr. Sanneh and two other UDP supporters Malang Fatty and Alhagie Sambou Fatty to be squashed.
Amnesty International’s Aster van Kregten said their convictions confirm exactly what the opposition has claimed all along: that the Gambian government persecutes its opponents.
Charges of sedition and false information are being used to curtail freedom of expression and legitimate dissent under President Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Sanneh had written a letter supporting UDP member Malang Fatty who was intending to apply for asylum abroad. In the letter, Sanneh claimed Malang Fatty had received death threats from government security services and that the UDP was routinely persecuted by the Gambian government.
They were held incommunicado for a month, tortured and forced to confess on national television. Amadou Sanneh can be seen visibly in pain and barely able to speak.
Sanneh lost an appeal in 2015 to have his conviction overturned. His party, the UDP is part of the eight opposition groups that formed the coalition, which defeated Jammeh in last month’s elections.
The UDP has been criticized for its inaction to secure his release but its leader Ousainou Darboe, a human rights lawyer, faced, even more, criticism for using the courts to secure his freedom.
Darboe and Sanneh were both jailed at the notorious Mile II prisons after he [Darboe] took part in opposition protests over the torture-death of another senior member of his party, Ebrima Solo Sandeng.