It took the Gambia government two months to confirm the death in custody of Ebrima Solo Sandeng. The opposition activist was tortured to death after his arrest on April 14th. His only crime– if there is any — is to lead a peaceful demonstration calling for electoral reforms. Sandeng, a newly elected Organising Secretary of the opposition United Democratic Party, was quickly buried before news of his death became public. Last month, Interior Minister Ousman Sonko confirmed Sandeng’s death to diplomats in Dakar, Senegal.
In a writ of habeas corpus filed by defense lawyers, the Gambia government was asked to produce Solo Sandeng in court. Despite his absence in court, the father of 11 was charged with protesting without acquiring license.
In a dramatic twist, the government replied to the writ. Saihou Omar Jeng, the NIA Director of Operations, replied to the defense lawyers demands. Jeng had concealed the fact that Sandeng died of torture. Mr. Jeng, who oversaw the torture of Sandeng and others, including Fatoumata Jawara, Fatou Camara and Nogoi Njie, wrote that Sandeng “lost his life during the process of arrest and detention.” The question that leaves many people wondering is: why the government buried Solo’s remains instead of handing it over to his family for a fitting burial. Clearly, the government did its best to cover cold-blooded murder resulting from brutal torture.
Read below Saihou Jeng’s Affidavit in Opposition and see whether his statement adds up.