By Omar Bah
Binta Kuyateh, a woman in her late sixties said that her husband died of shock after visiting her in prison.
Speaking at a TRRC event at the Gambia Pastoral Institute organised by Article 19 on Tuesday, Mrs Kuyateh claimed she was arrested and detained by the Jammeh enforcers because of her loyalty to the UDP. She said she was detained at the Bansang Police Station.
Kuyateh explained: “My husband attempted to see me three times but they only allowed him access on the eighth day of my detention. Because of the horrible condition he found me in, he was traumatised and could not bear the pain and when he went home he immediately fell ill and never recovered.”
Kuyateh, a native of Brikamaba explained that she was arrested during a political rally by three personnel of the Police Intervention Unit who initially took her to Brikamaba Police Station before transferring her to Bansang.“I spent one night at Bansang police and the following morning I was accompanied to Georgetown by the police commissioner and the station officer to the governor’s house,” she narrated.
Kuyateh said on arrival, Governor Ganyie Touray asked why she supported the United Democratic Party. “I told him that is the party I want to support. Then he told me that is okay but they were going to deal with me. The governor then told me he is the one who ordered for the paramilitary to arrest me. He asked me whether I knew the crime I committed and I replied I was not told by the police and told me my crime was because I support the UDP,” she alleged.
Kuyateh said what shocked her the most was that when she requested to take shower, the lady who was in charge of the prison took her to the bathroom and stood by the door staring at her.
“I asked her to give me privacy but she insisted she needed to see me naked to ensure I am not carrying anything illegal,” Mrs Kuyateh tearfully revealed.
She continued: “I refused to take off my clothes in front of her because even my daughter is older than her. I cannot be naked in front of her and that is how she returned me to the cell.”
Madam Kuyateh said a few days later, one Malang Saibo Sanneh went to the police and asked them to remove her from her cell.
“When I came out, he asked me to sing and dance for him as I used to do at UDP rallies, but I told him we were not in a dancing arena and after a brief exchange of words, he asked them to return me to the cell. I spent 25 days in the prison and by the time they released me, my husband was already seriously ill and could not move,” she said.
She said after her release she toed and fro-ed the courts for five months during which time her rice field was totally destroyed.
“One thing that is certain, I would never forgive the people who brought all these sufferings to me and my family,” she concluded.