Gambia’s jailed opposition leader Darboe freed on bail

The human rights lawyer who told journalists his role model is Nelson Mandela said he has forgiven the country’s strongman Yahya Jammeh who has lost in a presidential elections held in the small nation on December 1.

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Lawyer Ousainou Darboe in blue in the court waiting for the Judges’ decision 

Ousainou Darboe, leader of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party who was serving a three-year jail term has been granted bail by the country’s Court of Appeal on Monday.

Darboe’s bail was unconditional but the rest were asked to produce a Gambian surety who will deposit his national identity card on their behalf.

Darboe and 18 other members of the party including 11 executives were jailed for leading a peaceful demonstration on April 16 while demanding the release of their party member, Solo Sandeng, who died in state custody a day earlier.

The human rights lawyer who told journalists his role model is Nelson Mandela said he has forgiven the country’s strongman Yahya Jammeh who has lost in a presidential elections held in the small nation on December 1.

“I have forgiven him (Jammeh)… Nelson Mandela has been a role model for me… What he has done to me personally, I have no problem with that,” he told journalists in a fully packed courtroom.

“We are grateful to the world for the enormous support that has been given to us since April 16…”

Darboe and his colleagues were sentenced on July 20 but they have boycotted the trial claiming “executive interference into the court procedures”.

The 67-year old man is an Asthma patient and his wife expressed concern over his health condition in an interview with Anadolu two days ago, but Darboe said they “have never been maltreated in prison”.

After they left country’s central prison, Mile 2, Darboe was escorted by a crowd of supporters chanting “freedom” and referring to him as “Mandela” to his house.

There are still host of other UDP supporters in jail who are not released on bail.

There is higher chance that the bailed politicians won’t go back to jail because the president elect Adama Barrow has promised to free all political prisoners.

Following the release on bail of opposition leader Ousainou Darboe and 18 other peaceful protesters this afternoon, Sabrina Mahtani Amnesty International’s West Africa Anglophone Researcher said:

“The release of Ousainou Darboe and the 18 other peaceful protestors on bail is a big moment for them and their families, and we hope that this positive step indicates that they will be fully acquitted in due course.”

 

 

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