The United Democratic Party (UDP) has confirmed from multiple sources that an unspecified number of remand political prisoners who were arrested on April 14 2016 with Solo Sandeng have been removed from their prison cells and being transported to an unknown destination.
While it is still not clear why the abductees were removed from their cells, the UDP holds the government of the Gambia wholly responsible for their personal security and wellbeing.
The Gambia under President Jammeh has developed a plaid history of disappearing detainees to their eventual death only to shamelessly turn around to say that they have escaped lawful custody.
We can confirm that by around 1:30 GMT, state security personnel from the Police, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Army, drove into the Mile II Central Prisons and removed an unspecified group of remand political prisoners in handcuffs. Neither their lawyers nor the prison officials were told where they were being taken to.
The UDP is deeply concerned about this latest case of lawlessness by a government that is aided and abated by a corrupt and unjust judicial system gone haywire with state prosecutors acting entirely on directives from the office of the president to deliberately and persistently pervert justice.
Although some unconfirmed reports say the abductees are being transported to the Regional Capital of Mansakonko in the Lower River Region of The Gambia, the UDP would like to make it clear that we will not take part in these state orchestrated violations and criminality which is part of a ploy to effectively imprison innocent people by cynically holding them up in endless and unlawful procedural schemes.
The alleged crimes that the April 12th group have been charged with were committed in the Greater Banjul Area therefore the courts in Mansakonko, 200km away cannot exercise jurisdiction over this case.
We reject affirmatively the judicial deception The Gambia government is attempting to use for its wholesale repression of the Gambian people.
Through its conduct, it has contaminated the judiciary and morphed it into an instrument of terror aided and abetted by hooded thugs embedded into the security services that violently abuse unarmed men and women in their custody.
We therefore restate our grave concern that The Gambia government in its persistent pattern of abuse and violence poses an existential threat to The Gambia and its people. We reject and will not submit to procedural tricks designed to hold our innocent compatriots indefinitely under the guise of judicial proceedings that are neither free nor fair.
If the regime continues to not honor our demands as well as those of the broader international community for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, it alone will bear full responsibility for whatever eventualities may ensue.
The Gambian people are not cowered by the old vile threats of additional death and violence by a morally bankrupt regime.
Freedom and democracy are the only thing we will settle for and we will not rest until they are achieved whatever the price.
Issued by the UDP