African leaders asked to intervene in violations in the Gambia

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has called on President John Atta Mills and other African leaders meeting in Sirte in Libya to condemn the systematic campaign being waged by President Yahya Jammeh’s administration to undermine media freedom and freedom of expression in The Gambia.

In a press statement copied to Friday July 3, 2009, the MFWA also called on Heads of State to impress upon President Jammeh to unconditionally drop all criminal charges preferred against seven Gambian journalists and Press Union executives standing trial following their criticism of President Jammeh for speaking ill of slain editor, Deyda Hydara. The Gambian Press Union (GPU) currently cannot operate inside The Gambia, it added.

The statement said, the accused persons were arrested separately on June 15, 2009, detained for more than the seventy two hours without appearing in court as the country’s constitution stipulates, and were hurriedly arraigned before a magistrate court without their counsels.

Initially, the magistrate court ordered them to reappear on July 7, 2009 but surprisingly, the authorities instead summoned them to reappear on July 3. The case has also been transferred to the Banjul High Court instead of the Kanifing Magistrate court which began
the trial.

What is more worrying the according to the statement is the fact that two more charges – “conspiracy to commit defamation” and “defamation of the President” – have been added, bringing to five the number of criminal charges brought against the journalists.

MFWA believes that this latest move by the authorities is possibly to prevent the public from following the case and to ensure that the
journalists are convicted.

The MFWA fears that the journalists will not get fair hearing in court as the Gambian government has continuously demonstrated its disregard for lawful and constitutional order as was clearly demonstrated in the recent dismissal of the country’s Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice, the statement said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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  1. OMAR says


  2. Moh says

    for how long will these yahya jammeh!s nonsense continue.

  3. mchorney says

    I think the time has come for Gambian’s to stand up and speak and die because silence means concern. The world should also stand up and speak against The Gambian Presidency.It is true they dont have gold,Diamond,Cocoa etc making it less attractive for the powers that be to speak on their behalf.

  4. bissi says

    Which African leaders? There is no African leader who is doing better than what Yaya Jammeh is doing for his people. Those who want to take to the cheap propaganda we Africans are accustomed to will always fail. Yaya Jammeh is loved by the majority of Gambians who have seen where he is taking Gambia. Journalist who have their own agenda of tarnishing the image of the country has to face the laws of the nation. No one is above the law even if one hides behaind the slogan of “human rights”, “freedom of speech”, etc. These are the same people who do not tolerate other’s opinion and will always cry foul. Gambia is a sovereign and civilized nation governed by the rule of law to secure it’s citizen. Individuals who think they can take the whole nation at ransom just because they hate the President can think twice. The government has the responsibility to safeguard the internal security and stability of the majority rest of us. By the grace of God no selfish politicians/so-called journalist will be allowed to jeopardise this. Period!

  5. omar says

    yahya jammeh is not a good leader, he kill my brother, lamin lf. so i am looking for him. thanks.

  6. buba says

    Omar, who is your brother Lamin; why did Yaya Jammeh kill your imaginery brother “Lamin”; and how do you proof this to the readers here and anyone for that matter? It is easy to talk cheap, isn’t it? These are the kind of cooking-up stories you half-baked illitrate Gambians make your way of leaving – hearsay. You tell lies and tales until you turn up beliving it yourselves. Hating one person (Yaya Jammeh) doesn’t warrant tarnishing the image of your country while you think you are comfortably residing in Europe or America.

  7. simeon ihekwereme says

    yaya jammeh is the best leader gambians have ever had and should be grateful for having him,those enemies of progress should be dealt with in accordance with the rule of law which is what,s going on and i support the president

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