As the second death of an opposition member of United Democracy Party (UDP) Ebrima Solo Krummah occurs in custody, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Gambia has issued a statement expressing concerns. In his statement Ambassador Colin Crorkin said they are concerns over reports of excessive violence and ill treatment of those in custody in the Gambia on a number of occasions.
“We have also expressed our dismay over the severity of the sentencing in the case of the United Democratic Party leader and his supporters”.
The United Kingdom calls on the Gambian authorities to release all political prisoners and ensure that claims of mistreatment are investigated in a credible and transparent way in line with international human rights obligations, said the statement.
“We also call on the Gambian authorities to create an inclusive environment that allows all political parties, and their supporters, the ability to participate in the electoral process without hindrance.”
Krummah and fourteen other UDP members were sentenced to three years in jail by court in Mansakonko for protesting against bad electoral laws. 48 hours before their conviction, another high court judge in Banjul sentenced the UDP’s leader Ousainou Darboe and nineteen others to three years in jail.
It could be recalled that in April 2016, members of the party led by Solo Sandeng organised a protest calling for changes to Gambia’s electoral system. The protest was dispersed by armed security officers who arrested dozens. Eyewitnesses said they were beaten.
Few days after their arrest, the UDP reported Sandeng had died in custody as a result of torture.