Louis Ayala and Ousainou Darboe
Louis Ayala and Ousainou Darboe

(JollofNews) – The Socialist International (SI) has denounced the imprisonment of the leadership of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) by a high court judge in the Gambia.

Opposition Leader Ousainou Darboe and 18 of his supporters were last Wednesday sentenced to three years in prison by a high court judge in Banjul for taking part in a street protest in April to demand answers over the death in custody of the party’s organising secretary, Solo Sandeng.

Mr Sandeng had led a protest which ended with Gambian security forces beating and arresting dozens for making a public call for electoral reform and the resignation of President Yahya Jammeh.

Socialist International said it utterly deplores what it described as a travesty of justice and calls for their immediate release pf the opposition members.

“We equally call on the international community to join forces in denouncing the conduct of the dictatorial regime of Yahya Jammeh and calling for an end to the continuing violation of human rights in that country, the physical abuse and murder of detainees in custody as in the case of UDP Secretary Ebrima Solo Sandeng earlier this year, the persistent denial of freedom of expression, and the harassment of members of the opposition by the ruling regime,” said Louis Ayala, secretary-general of Socialist International.
It reaffirms its solidarity with the jailed opposition and all the democratic forces in the Gambia who are struggling for their full rights and freedoms.

It said it is determined to remain attentive to the situation in the country ahead of the forthcoming presidential elections due to be held in December 2016.

It called on the international community and regional and international institutions, in particular the African Union and the United Nations, for urgent action in this case.