Oct 7, 2013, 11:39 AM
Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler and the European External Action Service
(EEAS) spokesperson have issued statements calling for investigations into the
death of UDP party members Ebrima Krummah and Solo Sandeng.
The full statements of both bodies are featured verbatim below:
Statement of Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.
Human Rights Commissioner on the death of Gambian opposition politician Ebrima Solo Kurumah
Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on 24 August 2016:
“I am deeply concerned by reports from the Gambia. Opposition politician Ebrima Solo Kurumah is said to have died last Saturday, shortly after undergoing surgery at a hospital to which he had been transferred from prison. He had allegedly earlier been refused medical aid in prison.
Ebrima Solo Kurumah was arrested on 9 May together with 35 other members of the UDP opposition party for reasons unknown. 20 of those arrested were later released. Charges were brought against the other 16, including Kurumah.
In July, 19 other UDP members were sentenced to three years in prison. They had protested in April against the death in police custody of a leading member of the UDP, and had called for electoral reform.
The rights guaranteed by the Gambian constitution, such as freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly, must be upheld at all times. The deployment of the security forces against demonstrators must not violate the principle of proportionality.
I call on the Gambian Government to investigate the circumstances leading to the deaths of opposition members Ebrima Solo Kurumah and Solo Sandeng quickly and thoroughly. I equally call on the Gambian Government to investigate the accusations of torture in prisons and to ensure that all prisoners are treated humanely.”
Ebrima Solo Kurumah was arrested on 9 May together with 35 other members of the Gambian UDP opposition party in circumstances that remain unclear. Charges were brought against 16 of these people, including Ebrima Solo Kurumah and a young woman with a four-month-old baby.
Leading members of the Gambian UDP had previously demonstrated, on 16 April, against the arrest of Solo Sandeng and other opposition members two days earlier.
Solo Sandeng had held a peaceful protest for electoral reform with members of the UDP, and was arrested for his actions by the Gambian security forces. He died in jail shortly thereafter. In July, the Gambian Government announced that an inquiry would be held into the death of Sandeng, but no results have yet been produced.
In July, 19 of the opposition members arrested on 16 April were sentenced to three years in prison for offences including unlawful assembly, disturbance of the peace and conspiracy. 11 of the demonstrators of 14 April were also convicted of these offences and sentenced to three years in jail.
Statement by European External Action Service (EEAS) Spokesperson on the death in custody of Gambian opposition member Ebrima Solo Krummah
Mr Ebrima Solo Krummah, a Gambian opposition member, has died after undergoing surgery whilst being held in custody.
He had been arrested on 9 May, together with other members of the UDP party, having participated in peaceful protests and reportedly being brought to court only in June.
After the death of Mr Solo Sandeng in April, this is the second time in a few months that a member of the opposition has died in custody.
The Government of The Gambia should shed full light on the circumstances of these deaths allowing for an independent investigation.
It is imperative to respect the right to physical integrity of individuals held in state custody. Human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Gambian Constitution and in the international treaties the country is party need to be fully respected.