Gambian authorities have released at least 98 prisoners on Thursday from a deplorable detention facility outside the capital, Banjul.
They join a batch of at least 174 prisoners who were pardoned last month by President Adama Barrow. The prisoners included those from a facility on an island in central Gambian city of Jangjanbureh.
Gambian prisoners reported to the new authorities that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment by their jailers, allegations strongly condemned by the Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty and Attorney General Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou.
Human rights campaigners have decried the conditions in the prisons and a video footage of the main detention center, Mile II, shown on national television sparked an outcry.
Gambia’s President Barrow promised to build a new prison facility.
Prisoners complained of prolonged solitary confinement and reported that many have died of malnutrition and food poisoning. Campaigners say expired food items have been given to prisoners, who live in congested quarters without proper ventilation.
Gambia’s former chief prison warden, David Colley has been arrested by authorities, who say he is helping with investigations into alleged human rights abuses in prisons.