[JURIST] A Gambian activist on Saturday died while in detention after being detained on Thursday following protesting. Many rights groups are now calling for an inquiry [BBC report] into how Solo Sandeng, the National Organizing Secretary of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), died after sustaining injuries during the protest. Amnesty International (AI) [official website] stated [AI report] that the organization has received information that he “died in detention shortly after his arrest for participating in a peaceful protest” and that the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown. People present at the protest, which was in regards to electoral reforms, stated that it was peaceful and was eventually broken up by police who arrested several people, including Sandeng. On Sunday, after learning of the deaths of Sandeng and two others, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called on [UN news report] authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested during Thursday’s protest.
The treatment of activists has been a constant human rights issue throughout the world. Last month Azeri human rights lawyer and advocate Intigam Aliyev was freed from jail [JURIST report]. Aliyev had been charged with tax evasion, abuse of office and illegal entrepreneurship. Also in March Kuwait’s Supreme Court upheld [JURIST report] the four-year jail sentence against an activist found guilty of insulting judges on Twitter. In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized [JURIST report] Omani courts for jailing two online activists over posts they wrote on social media websites. Also in February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] over China’s recent crackdown on lawyers and activists. The commissioner stated that civil society workers should be protected by the state, not harassed.