Justice Ottabba of the High Court in Banjul remanded President Jammeh’s main political rival Ousainou Darboe with at least two dozen protesters arrested last month after rare protests for electoral reform erupted in the tiny West African nation’s commercial capital, Serrekunda.Justice Ottabba said the effects of releasing the accused person on the national security of the country was considered into the decision.

The country’s Minister of Justice Mama Fatima Singhateh and Information Minister Sheriff Bojang both said the peace and stability of the country has to be put first and cannot be compromised. Gambian authorities insisted they will “jealously guard the peace” and warned the international community not to interfere in its domestic matters.

President Yahya Jammeh has said that he “will not leave the national security of this country in the hands of dogs.” He has sworn to rule for a billion years and vowed to kill anyone who attempts to end his rule.

The United Nations and the main opposition UDP said that at least three people have died including a senior opposition figure, Solo Sandeng. Sandeng was tortured to death by security forces on the night of his arrest. At least seven of the missing protesters who were tortured and feared death were arraignedbefore Justice Ottabba on Wednesday.

Human rights lawyer Ousainou Darboe has already attached a condition to his bail and rescinded all offers to have him freed.

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Foreign Affairs

The senior attorney said he will not leave jail without securing the freedom of all arrested protesters and without the government handing over Mr Sandeng – dead or alive.

It is not the first time that Gambian judges, most of whom are contracted by the government from Nigeria remanded those accused in highly state interested cases over national security. Gambians accused them of being machinery judges who are controlled by the executive.

Justice Simeon Abi denied Gambian broadcast journalist, Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay bail because the “alleged offense bothers on the broadcast” of materials, which if allowed to be repeated will have effects on the national security of the West African nation.

UDP demand release of protesters and an investigation into Sandeng’s death

The UDP has demanded the unconditional release of Mr Darboe and all other protesters. They also want the torture-death of their youth leader and organizing secretary Solo Sandeng to be independently investigated and for those who participated in it to be prosecuted.

Protests continue in Banjul especially in front of the High Court where UDP Leader and Secretary General Darboe with about fifty others are being prosecuted for inciting riots and conspiracy. Hundreds gather at least twice a week on every court appearance date with banners demanding an “end to dictatorship” and for President Jammeh to resign. It has been unprecedented noting that none of the people in the ongoing protests have been arrested for carrying those banners or blocking the traffic.

Dr Amadou Janneh was Jammeh’s former Information Minister and he was charged with treason and given a life sentence for printing and distributing t-shirts with the inscription “end dictatorship now.”

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