17 April 2016

Secretary-General Dismayed by Deaths of Gambia Opposition Party Members in State Custody, Calls Authorities to Promptly Conduct Thorough Investigation

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General learned with dismay of the death in detention in Gambia of political activist and opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) member Solo Sandeng and two fellow party members.  They died following their arrest on 14 April 2016 for participating in a peaceful protest in Banjul.

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.  He calls on the authorities to conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances that led to their death while under State custody.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the apparent use of excessive force and the arrest and detention of peaceful demonstrators on 14 April 2016.  He calls on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested, including UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, and uphold the rights of the Gambian people to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

For information media. Not an official record.