UN rights office expresses concern over death of member of opposition party in Gambia

Street scene in downtown Banjul, The Gambia. Photo: IRIN/Nicholas Reader (file)

23 August 2016 – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has deplored the death in custody of Ebrima Solo Kurumah, a member of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), last Saturday, a spokesperson for the Office said.

Mr. Kurumah was among 30 members of the UDP who were imprisoned, in April, following protests against the death of Solo Sandeng, the Chairman of UDP's youth wing. Mr. Sandeng had also died while in custody.

OHCHR had earlier expressed concerns over the imprisonment and that there had been no proper investigation into allegations of excessive use of force in the context of the demonstrations.

Speaking at a regular press briefing in Geneva, Cécile Pouilly said that according to reports, Mr. Kurumah passed away after he was taken to a hospital for a surgical operation.

He had allegedly been denied medical help on several occasions while in detention. Additionally, there are reports that other detainees have also been denied medical care in recent months.

“We urge the authorities to investigate the death in State custody of Mr. Sandeng and Mr. Kurumah,” said Ms. Pouilly, urged them to also investigate allegations that detainees are denied access to medical care.

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