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UN chief dismayed at Gambian activist's death in detention

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (Xinhua) -- UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Sunday learned with dismay of the death in detention in Gambia of political activist and opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) member Solo Sandeng and two fellow party members.

They died following their arrest on Thursday for participating in a peaceful protest in Banjul, said the UN secretary-general's spokesman in a statement.

After extending his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased, Ban called on the authorities "to conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances that led to their death while under state custody," it said.

Moreover, Ban was deeply concerned about the apparent use of excessive force and the arrest and detention of peaceful demonstrators on Thursday.

He called on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested, including UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, and uphold the rights of the Gambian people to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, it said.

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