US Lawmakers Call For Release Of Detained Gambian Opposition Protesters

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June 30, 2016

CARDIN CONTACT | Sean Bartlett / Sue Walitsky – 202.224.4651

MIKULSKI CONTACT | Matt Jorgenson – 202.224.4654

VAN HOLLEN CONTACT | Ian Jannetta – 202.225.5341

DELANEY CONTACT | Will McDonald – 202.225.2721

Cardin, Mikulski, Van Hollen, Delaney Call for Release of Maryland Resident Fanta Jawara from Gambian Prison

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and U.S. Representatives Chris Van Hollen and John K. Delaney, (all D-Md.), issued the following joint statement Thursday calling on the government of The Gambia to immediately release Fanta Jawara, a Maryland resident who has been jailed in that country since April.

“Mrs. Fanta Jawara is an American citizen from Frederick, Maryland whose only crime appears to be visiting family in The Gambia. We are extremely concerned about her continued incarceration and call for her immediate release. The constitution of The Gambia specifically provides for the right to due process, freedom of political association and the right to peaceful assembly as well as outlaws torture. We urge the Gambian government to meaningfully adhere to the rights enshrined in their constitution by releasing Mrs. Jawara and other peaceful protesters, and respecting freedom of speech and the media.”

Background Note:

For months, protestors in the Gambian capital of Banjul have advocated for electoral reforms, and the resignation of President Yahya Jammeh. The government has repeatedly engaged in mass arrests of protesters and harassment of political opposition in the lead up to the elections, which are currently scheduled to take place in December. In April, Solo Sandeng, the National Organizing Secretary of the United Democratic Party—the main opposition party—died after he was arrested. Witnesses allege security personnel tortured him while he was in detention.

President Jammeh has been in power since taking over in a military coup in 1994. His government has been accused of gross violations of human rights, including extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests. Media freedom and freedom of speech are not respected, and harassment of journalists has been widely reported.



  1. More pressure must be added to tyrannical regime to ensure everyone is free . Call your senators and House of Representatives to make a case against Jammeh’s regime .

    • They don’t need to make a case against Jammeh. He has been a case for 20 more years. A hit and terminate plan must be scheduled, allied upon and executed once and for all.This is needed because the blatancy of Jammeh’s despotism is like none in the world of despots and dictatorships looking at the size of the country and its population.