Release Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, The UDP Executive, and Other Gambian Activists
I write to call on you, your organization, and government, to act in favor of freedom and justice, in the ongoing trial of the United Democratic Party Leader, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, his party Executive, and host of other Gambian activists, under the Gambia’s brutal leader, Yahya Jammeh, to act without delay and petition the Gambian administration to immediately release Mr. Darboe, the UDP Executive, and host of other Gambian activists unconditionally.
In a peaceful call for electoral reform in April 2016, the Gambian authorities heavy-handedly arrested, tortured, and continues to seize the freedom of overthree dozen Gambians who committed no crime, other than calling peacefully for electoral reform, election term limits, level playing ground, age limitbarriers, etc. In the process, one Solo Sandeng, a youth mobiliser of the UDP, was alleged to have died with scores of others tortured by the Gambian security forces, an instruction that came from Yahya Jammeh.
While the cases are ongoing, the Defense Lawyers complained that they are not allowed to interact with their clients because of the forceful interruption by Gambia’s security forces, a strict violation of the court’s code of conduct. As a result of the court’s lack of impartiality, unfairness, and being economical with the truth, the Defense Team walked out of the courton Wednesday June 8th, 2016 in protest. The case is adjourned for Monday June 13th, 2016. There is no indication that the administration or the courts presided over by mercenary judges will respect the defendants and their clients rights for a fair trial. This is a continued cause for concern.
Meanwhile, in a recent speech President Jammeh threatened to kill and bury his opponents many feet deep down the ground. His threats cannot be taken lightly as he is an armed banditin the presidency. He continues to divide the Gambia on tribal lines, and tothe level even threatening to kill all the Mandinkas in the Gambia. It is feared and widely rife that he plans to do harm to the Defendants and theirLawyers. Last year, I addressed Jammeh’s bad-mouthing of Citizens, “Jammeh’s bad-mouthing at Citizens a Cause for Continued Concern” (Gainako 5/17/2015, Culled from the web: http://gainako.com/jammehs-bad-mouthing-at-citizens-a-cause-for-continued-concern/).
Knowing the above, I therefore call on you to do all within your power as citizens, Human Rights Activists, and believers in justice, to call for their immediate and unconditional release from custody. The same call is also extended to Gambia’s security forces and they are hereby cautioned to serve honorably and desistfrom any further tortures and following of Jammeh’s criminal orders.