Gambia: Calls For Independent Probe Intensify, As Solo Sandeng’s ‘Death Certificate’ Leaked


In the wake of Solo Sandeng’s death certificate leak, a good number of Gambians are intensifying calls for government to comply with the demands made by United Nations and ECOWAS for an independent probe into the case.

“I find this very troubling for the authorities to come up at the eleventh hour with a death certificate to prove that Solo Sandeng died of shock and respiratory arrest,” Gambian activist lawyer Assan Martin told this reporter.

Over the past few days, a leaked medical document widely circulated on social media had stated that the United Democratic Party (UDP) youth leader  died of “shock and respiratory arrest”. The news come weeks after President Yahya Jammeh told Paris-based Jeune Afrique magazine that it was common for people to die in custody or during interrogation, triggering a chain of reactions throughout the globe.

Lawyer Martin said the death certificate produced by the State is not enough to show the cause of death. “It is now established beyond a reasonable doubt that some of those arrested on April 14 were subjected to torture.  An autopsy must be carried out by independent pathologists in order  to shed light on circumstances surrounding Sandeng’s demise,” he said.

Despite the fact that the death certificate has left many people skeptical about government readiness to make sure that truth prevail, ex-diplomat Essa Bokkar Sey said it will be very hard for the incumbent government in The Gambia to remove  suspicion towards whatever it does from the minds of Gambians.

“Why? The answer is found in its legacy during the past 22 years,” he stated.

Former Gambian plenipotentiary to Taiwan recalled previous cases of people who ‘succumbed to their injuries’ in custody while many questions regarding their death are left unanswered.

“A particular case one can take and compare it to the releasing of the death certificate of Solo Sandeng is here. That is to say, when former Junta leader Sadibu Hydara died in 1995 or so his death certificate had details like high blood pressure written in it. Which was later on disputed by people who were close to him but it did not fly. Whether people know it or not his family received threats directly or indirectly not to ever continue questioning the veracity of that death certificate,“ former ambassador Sey revealed.

He accused Gambia government of desperately trying to absolve security personnel from any wrongdoing.

He said a government that covers traces is a government that is prone to committing crimes be it economic or those against humanity.

Yahya Jammeh’s 21-year rule has been marred by numerous death in custody cases and politically motivated assassinations that have never been elucidated. Not a single security has been convicted in relation to any of these deaths. The Indemnity Act endorsed by the current regime seems to be resonating with a license to kill in the back of their minds…

Written by Abdoulie JOHN

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