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Gambia releases opposition figure on bail

26 August 2016, 08:57

Banjul - A ruling party parliamentarian turned leading Gambian opposition figure has been released on bail, her lawyer said, after she was detained twice in one month over allegations of fraud and embezzlement.

Tina Faal, who was a ruling party parliamentarian from 2007 to 2012 one of five nominated by President Yahya Jammeh.

Faal is currently a top official with the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), an opposition group founded in May which is drawing support from disgruntled officials of Jammeh's ruling party.

"My client has been released on bail, she is reunited with her family," lawyer Combeh Gaye told AFP, without giving further details.

Faal was released Tuesday, a judicial source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity, after her family posted a five hundred thousand dalasis ($11,800) bail.

Accused of obtaining goods by false pretence, theft and conspiracy, Faal was first arrested July 28 this year. At an August hearing, she pleaded not guilty and was released on bail, the source said.

But on August 9, "we learnt that she was being detained at Mile Two Prison," a family member told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the indictment, Faal is accused of selling parts of a Boeing air plane which were fraudulently acquired.

Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, rules the Gambia with an iron fist.

His regime is regularly accused by rights groups of forcibly disappearing his opponents.

Two opposition figures have recently died in custody, prompting the UN, France, the US and various human rights watchdogs to voice concern and call for a neutral probe.

He has blasted the UN and Amnesty International for demanding such an investigation, saying they could "go to hell".



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