Nazish Dholakia Media Desk Officer@nazishd More than six months after Solo Sandeng was beaten to death in the custody of Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA), his family still hasn’t seen the body. They may never see it. On April 14, 2016, Sandeng, a prominent activist with the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), led a protest calling for electoral reform in Serrekunda, a suburb of Banjul, the capital. Gambian police arrested Sandeng and more than 20 other demonstrators and bystanders. Many of them were beaten and tortured in NIA custody. Sandeng’s injuries were fatal. The Gambian government’s repression of the...Read More
Gambia’s 2016 Presidential Elections by Human Rights Watch In December 2016, Gambians will go to the polls to vote for a president for the fifth time since current leader Yahya Jammeh came to power in a 1994 coup. Over the past 22 years, President Jammeh and the Gambian security forces have used enforced disappearances, torture, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests to suppress dissent and preserve Jammeh’s grip on power. Ahead of this year’s election, the government has repeated these tactics, with a crackdown on opposition parties, particularly the United Democratic Party (UDP), that has all but extinguished hopes for a free and fair election. The government’s crackdown began on April 14, when prominent UDP activist Solo Sandeng led a rare public protest calling for electoral reform. He was arrested by Gambian police, taken to the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and brutally beaten to death. Many protesters arrested with Sandeng were also tortured at the NIA; several were beaten and doused in water while being forced to lie on a table. Gambian authorities have in 2016 arrested more than 90 opposition activists, including those arrested with Sandeng, for participating in largely peaceful protests. Courts have convicted 30 opposition members and sentenced them to three-year terms, including UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and many of the UDP leadership. Jammeh has also repeatedly threatened opposition parties. “Let me warn those evil...Read More
Published April 11, 2016 STUART A. REID In a way, the 2014 coup attempt in the small West African country of The Gambia began 14 years earlier. Back in 2000, many Gambians hadn’t yet made up their minds about Yahya Jammeh—the former military officer who had taken power in a 1994 coup, replacing the country’s democratically elected, if out-of-touch, leader. Jammeh’s dark side was no secret: Within months of taking power, he had two other members of his junta arrested for plotting counter-coups and caused a third to flee the country. But Jammeh had delivered on some of his...Read More
By STUART A. REID FEB 8, 2016 For those of us lucky enough to live in democracies, it is comforting to imagine foreign dictators as wholly foreign. The world seems less complicated when an autocrat fits the stereotype: say, wearing a leopard-skin hat and rarely stepping out of some jungle palace. Anyone fine with ruling undemocratically, one might like to think, should have no interest in a culture completely opposed to the practice. Or, at the very least, if such a leader did make meaningful connections with the West, surely his retrograde beliefs would melt away on contact.Reality, alas,...Read More
By STUART A. REID, March 2016 n the dark hours of the morning on December 30, 2014, eight men gathered in a graveyard a mile down the road from the official residence of Yahya Jammeh, the president of the Gambia. The State House overlooks the Atlantic Ocean from the capital city of Banjul, on an island at the mouth of the Gambia River. It was built in the 1820s and served as the governor’s mansion through the end of British colonialism, in 1965. Trees and high walls separate the house from the road, obscuring any light inside. The men...Read More
- Free At Last!! Gambians Have freed all December 30th Incident Heroes through a Presidential Pardon!!
Free At last! December 30 Heroes Freed from Life Imprisonment! ! The people of Gambia have freed their Heroes! The December 30th Freedom Foundation is hereby pleased to announce that all our of heroes who were part of the December 30th, 2014 incident have just been released with a full pardon, by President Adama Barrow, … Readmore