Washington, DC - The United States condemns the harsh sentences handed out to 30 people this week in The Gambia, including a U.S. citizen, for protesting peacefully. These sentences followed trials that raise legitimate questions about the degree to which they were fair and observed due process.

We are also deeply troubled by the reported torture of protesters and opposition figures and the death in custody of opposition leader Ebrima Solo Sandeng.

We call on the Government of The Gambia to immediately release all those 30 sentenced this week, as well as every protester arrested during demonstrations last spring. We call for the government to allow an independent investigation of allegations of torture and abuse.

As The Gambia prepares for national elections in December, we further call on the government to guarantee the constitutional rights of its people to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.