Gambia: Gambian Press Union launches memorial lecture series for slain journalist

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The Gambia Press Union (GPU) on Wednesday launched a memorial lecture series in honour of the murdered journalist Deyda Hydara, Managing Editor of the country's private "Point" newspaper.

Wednesday, 16 December, 2015, marks 11 years since Hydara, a co-founder of The Point newspaper, was assassinated.

The veteran journalist was gunned down by unidentified persons in a drive-by shooting in 2004. The incident happened near the Police Intervention Unit in Kanifing.

In a press statement, the GPU said that the memorial lecture aims at renewing calls for the government of the Gambia to investigate and bring to book the killers of Deyda, saying that justice for Deyda’s murder is long overdue.

According to the GPU, the theme for this year's lecture is "The Gambia at 50, the role of the media in the independence struggle", saying that the theme is timely and relevant, given that the Gambia this year marked 50 years of independence which the government celebrated in grand style.

Demba A Jawo, former president of the GPU, said there is no hard evidence that the Gambian government or its agents were involved in Deyda’s killing, but it is quite hard for any reasonable person to explain the government’s complete lack of interest in investigating the case as if they are not interested in knowing who killed him and why or that they have something to hide from people knowing the truth.

However, from the very onset, the attitude of the Gambian authorities towards the case was quite bizarre. Not only was the family not invited to the postmortem but the autopsy report was also never made available to them, even when they requested for it.

"Up to this very day, neither the family nor the GPU, who are an interested party, knows what has happened to the autopsy report or even the bullets that were removed from his body. Something is definitely fishy with the attitude of the Gambian authorities towards Deyda’s assassination," Jawo told PANA on the 11th anniversary of Deyda murder.  

Jawo stressed that instead of putting in all necessary efforts to find out who killed Deyda and why, the authorities have continued to demonstrate their complete indifference to the case.

“In fact, every time President Yahya Jammeh comments on the case, he makes some ambiguous remarks which tend to confuse rather than clarify his government’s stand point on the issue.

"A case in point was an interview he had with the BBC in November 2011 in which he compared Deyda’s brutal murder to the deaths of other Gambians in road accidents, asking why anyone should be more concerned about Deyda’s death than those Gambians who have died in other circumstances, thus further dashing any hopes that his government has any intentions of investigating the killing," Jawo observed.
-0- PANA MSS/VAO 16Dec2015

16 december 2015 14:25:36

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