AI demands Gambia suspension from Ecowas

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Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on regional leaders to suspend The Gambia from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) unless it frees political detainees. AI’s latest report seen by APA on Thursday said regional pressure should be brought to bear on the authorities in Gambia to end the brutal crackdown on political opponents and release prisoners arrested in April for taking to the streets demanding electoral reforms ahead of elections in December 2016.

The report which comes ahead of a crucial Ecowas meeting with Gambian officials in Dakar Senegal on Friday, chronicled a catalogue of abuses by the paramilitary and the fear National Intelligence Agency.

It claimed that Gambian security forces have crackdown on journalists, opposition politicians and human rights activists who were subjected to arbitrary arrests and harassment.

The report follows increasing criticism of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who has ruled mainland Africa’s smallest country with iron fist since coming to power in a bloodless coup in 1994.

Aside from clampdown on political opponents, the 51-year-old Gambian ruler has repeatedly threatened homosexuals who he described as vermin.

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