Gambia frees political detainee after 385 days

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The Gambian authorities have released Ousman Jatta, the United Democratic Party Councillor for Old Cape Point Ward, Bakau, after being held incommunicado for 385 days.

atta was released unconditionally in the Gambia town of Fatoto, some 420 kms from Banjul, late Saturday.

The politician told PANA he was released from his detention cell at Sare Ngai police station through the intervention of the Amnesty International (AI) officials, who visited the station.

Jatta said upon their arrival at the station, the AI officials had asked whether there was any political detainee there, adding he immediately announced himself as one, following which he was immediately transferred to Fatoto, where he was released about a week later.

According to him, he was picked up from his office at Cape Point 23 Sept. 2006, the day the presidential election result was announced.

Jatta said after being detained briefly, he was later moved to Gunjur, where he claimed to have been kept in a cell without roof.

He said during his detention, he had no medical treatment for seven months, even though he took ill after being exposed to the elements, and that he was fed by police officers on duty or good neighbors in the area he was detained all through.

Jatta said on Saturday, the police officer commanding the Basse division, in the Upper River Region, told him: “I just received order from the police headquarter that you are released unconditionally, therefore, you can go,” adding that he then called his family who sent a vehicle to pick him up.

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