Gambia: UN worried as 2 Gambian journalists continue to be held incommunicado

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights official, Rupert Colville, has expressed concern that two weeks after their detention, two Gambian journalists continue to be held incommunicado, with no access to family members or lawyers.  

Momodou Sabally, the head of the Gambia Radio and Television Services, and Bakary Fatty, a reporter with the same organisation, have been detained by the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul since 8 November with no charges against them, Colville said in a statement made available to PANA Tuesday.

He added that a third journalist, arrested on 10 November, was freed after six days without any charges.

According to Colville, a number of other people, including a magistrate, an opposition supporter and a former deputy minister of foreign Affairs, also remain incommunicado.

Colville further said the latest detentions come as 30 members of Gambia’s main opposition party are serving three-year prison sentences following their participation in peaceful protests in mid-April.

“Incommunicado detention without charge is a clear violation of the Gambian constitution, which requires detainees to be brought before the court within 72 hours, and of the country’s international human rights obligations," Colville said.

Colville also said in the run up to the presidential elections of 1 December, it is particularly crucial that the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association are fully respected.

“The detention of journalists is likely to intimidate the media in general – which is particularly damaging in an electoral context. We call on the Government to release all those who are being detained for their exercise of these rights.

"We are also deeply concerned about the continued failure of the authorities to investigate the deaths in custody of two members of the opposition, Ebrima Solo Krummah, and opposition leader Solo Sandeng earlier this year.
-0- PANA MSS/VAO 22Nov2016

22 november 2016 15:34:27

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