- Gambia’s main opposition leader, Halifa Sallah, has been charged with spying and holding an illegal assembly by the Gambian court on Wednesday, local media has reported.
Mr Sallah the leader of National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) party was arrested last Sunday following his visit to victims of torture and abductions at Jambur in Kombo village.
Magistrate Olagbutu Kayode said Mr Sallah had been charged with spying, illegal assembly and intended sedition. Mr Sallah, an outspoken critique of President Yahya Jammeh has lashed at government policies including high rate of human rights abuses in the tiny African state.
Local news reports said Mr Sallah was immediately remanded in custody when he could not make the bail money of one million Dalasis.
Mr Sallah, who has been arrested on a number of occasions in the past, stood against President Jammeh in the last presidential elections in 2006. Members of his party said the latest arrest was politically motivated and have demanded his immediate release.
Mr Sallah has threatened to take the Gambia government to court last month if arbitrary arrests and torture of innocent people continue in the country. A move that angered the government.
Amnesty International published a report last November that said President Jammeh's opponents are subjected to daily rights violations including torture and unlawful arrests. It also detailed a crackdown by authorities on the media.
Gambia has been ruled by President Jammeh since he grabbed power in a bloodless coup in 1994.
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