The notorious Mile 2 Prison outside the Gambian capital Banjul is where the political prisoners of the former president, Yahya Jammeh, were imprisoned and tortured [Hamza Mohamed/Al Jazeera]
Mandinaring, The Gambia - The walls were once painted white. And, in its past life, the floor was a layer of smooth cement. But the walls have turned brown now, covered in dust and sweat, and the cement has started to crumble into potholes and cracks.
This is the notorious Mile 2 Prison outside the Gambian capital Banjul.
Just the mention of that name was once enough to inspire fear in those who did not tow the government line in this tiny West African country. It was where the political prisoners of former president Yahya Jammeh, who ruled The Gambia for more than two decades, since leading a military coup in 1994, were sent.
Some endured years of torture before being released. And those were the fortunate ones; others were never seen again.
'They filmed everything they did to me'
About a 40-minute drive from the colonial era prison is the home of politician Nokoi Njie. As the late afternoon sun disappears behind the palm and mango trees, her children and relatives gather around her to listen to stories of what life was like behind the prison's bars.
"I still remember the day the security services picked me up. It was April 14, 2016, and we were protesting for electoral reform," she says, her breathes deep as she tries to hold back her tears.
"The beating and torture started as soon as they put us in the lorry that was to take us into custody. We were arrested by big paramilitary men."
She was not alone. Dozens of activists and politicians were picked up that day. It wasn't the first time Njie had fallen foul of the authorities - but it would be the worst.
"It was my second time," she explains. "In 2011, before the election, I was arrested because I opposed the president's people registering non-Gambians to vote in our election."
On that occasion she was released after a day. But things would be different this time; she would spend months behind bars without any contact with her family or a lawyer.
"When they put me in a cell, they tied my legs with a wire rope which cut deep into my flesh and I was bleeding. They then beat me with a baton and a rubber whip made from car tyre. They filmed everything they did to me. It was so bad I started saying my final prayers," she says, the tears now running down her cheeks.
"For three months my family did not see me or hear from me. They thought I was dead. Read more ......
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