By Alhagie Jobe
Gambia’s opposition United Democratic Party leader Ousainou Darboe and party executive detained at the state central prison of Mile II are denied visitation and homemade food with effect from today, Thursday, June 30, the Fatu Network has confirmed.
According to family sources who spoke to this medium and currently hanging out at the prison gate, they have been told by officers that it is an immediate order received today that Mr Darboe and Co should not get any visit or homemade food. They did not specify where the order came from but family members believe it’s a directive from the President so as to weaken and mentally torture the detainees and their families. This is not the first time that Darboe and Co are denied visitation and homemade food, and like before, our sources could not confirm when this new embargo will end.
The bad food provided by the prison to detainees especially those at the Remand Wing were Mr Darboe and Co are, is the worst one can ever thought of providing to a human being. Without homemade food especially in this Ramadan, it will be so difficult for Mr Darboe and Co to depend only on the food from prison.
Meanwhile, the Prison Act provides that all remand prisoners are entitled to family visits, homemade food and medication throughout the period of detention. Today, with these order from the authorities, it is a total violation of Mr Darboe and Co’s rights.
It could be recalled that Mr Darboe and Co were arrested on April 16 after staging a peaceful protest demanding the release, dead or alive of the party youth leader Solo Sandeng who was arrested in an earlier April 14 protest for demanding electoral reforms. He was tortured and died under state custody.
Mr Darboe and Co have since been charged, denied bail and remanded in the state central prison of Mile II. The international community had denounced the action of the government and called for their immediate release and for the government to launch and immediate investigation into the death of Solo Sandeng.
After a long mute over the dead of Mr Sandeng in state custody, President Jammeh in an interview with the French Magazine Jeune Afrique in May 2016 confirmed the death of Mr Sandeng and rubbished the call for investigations.
Again, the state prosecutors also admitted in court on Thursday, June 16 that Ebrima Solo Sandeg ‘indeed’ died in state custody. The confirmation was contained in a reply by the State’s Director of Public Prosecution SH Barkun to a Habeas Corpus filed on behalf of the late Sandeng at the High Court for the Gambia government to produce him dead or alive.