(JollofNews) – Authorities in the Gambia have on Monday freed the leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) and his supporters who were imprisoned for taking part in an ‘unauthorised’ anti-government protest.
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and 18 of his supporters namely; Ousainou Darboe, Femi Peters, Lamin Dibba, Kemesseng Jammeh, Lamin Jatta, Babucarr Camara, Fakebba Colley, Ismaila Ceesay, Momodou Fatty, Dodou Ceesay, Samba Ceesay, Mamud Kinteh, Mfamara Kuyateh, Fanta Darboe, Lamin Njie, Juguna Suso, Momodou LK Sanneh, Yaya Jammeh and Masanneh Lalo Jawla were given a three year jail term in July by a high court judge in Banjul after they took to the street in April to demand justice for their party’s organising secretary, Solo Sandeng, who was arrested two days earlier and killed in detention.
Mr Sandeng had led a brief but peaceful anti-regime protest at the busy Westfield Junction, Serrekunda, calling for proper electoral reforms and the resignation of President Jammeh.
After his arrest, he was moved to the feared National Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Banjul where he was tortured and killed within a few hours.
The Gambia government has admitted his death in custody and medical records said he died as result of breathlessness.
Angered at his death, the opposition members took to the streets to seek answers but were met by armed security officers who fired tear gas and live bullets at them before arresting and slapping them with criminal charges.
They were later found guilty and jailed at the Mile Two Central Prisons.
Their release comes in the wake of President Yahya Jammeh’s crushing defeat in Thursday’s election.