The Gambian government’s repression of the political opposition in the months prior to the December 1, 2016 presidential election threatens the fairness of the election.
President Yayha Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, has used a crackdown on the opposition, domination of state media, and state resources for campaigning to ensure a political advantage in the election. Authorities have threatened, arbitrarily arrested, jailed and tortured members of opposition political parties. Since April, more than 90 opposition activists have been jailed for participating in peaceful protests, with 30 sentenced to three-year prison terms. Two opposition activists have died in custody.