Gambia’s State Intelligence Agency is facing new allegations of torture, the second time this year by another soldier who was suspected to be part of a plot to overthrow the country’s new leader, Adama Barrow.
Lt. Abdoulie Jarju said he was beaten at the State Intelligence Services during his interrogation. The SIS was the notorious National Intelligence Agency distinguished for torturing opponents of authoritarian ruler, Yahya Jammeh.
Jarju was dragged out of his cell into an interrogation room. He was blindfolded and tortured. Investigators forcibly obtained a statement from him without an independent witness.
Jarju was arrest with LCpl Samboujang Bojang, who has also accused the SIS of torture. Bojang spent two weeks in the hospital where he recovered from burns and injuries he suffered on his feet and hands.
Sheriff Kumba Jobe, a lawyer representing the soldiers, who are now charged with treason and dragged to a court-martial said they had been held incommunicado without access to an attorney.
The 12 men were arrested between July and October and only had access to a lawyer after they were arraigned before a judge last month, Jobe said.
Gambian authorities have not made any official statement regarding the new allegations and military has not probed the allegations, despite a promise by the army chief in August.
Agents of the State Intelligence Services threatened to kill the agency’s former legal advisor, Babucarr Badjie while attempting to arrest him, claiming they are doing so in the service of the nation.
A group of Gambian lawyers has joined rights defenders in calling for the total abandonment of the agency that was the most feared in the former regime and attempting to remain so.