All 30, including Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and members of his party's executive members and supporters were handed a 3-year jail sentences each.
Those tried in Mansa Konko, a town 110 miles away from where the alleged crime of peaceful demonstration took place - which raised jurisdictional issues - included three female supporters who were severely tortured and sexually assaulted at the hands of agents of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
|Judge Eunice O. Dada|
To sentence the entire leadership of the largest opposition to 3-year terms each, months before the scheduled presidential elections is a calculated move by the Gambian dictator to eliminate any and all credible elections in which the opposition will play an unfettered role. The Nigerian judges have been brought in to ensure the dictatorship prevails in the coming elections.
The United States statement raises concern about the fairness of the trials and whether due process was observed. America is also "deeply troubled by the reported torture of protesters and opposition figures and the death in custody of opposition leader Solo Sandeng," the
|Justice Simeon Abi|
Finally, the U.S. government is also calling on the regime of Yaya Jammeh to guarantee the constitutional rights of every Gambian to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.