Rule of terror as the Gambia holds journalist for more than 730 days

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A sub-regional media freedom watchdog, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Monday decried “the continued detention of Gambian journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh”, saying he has spent “730 days in detention in an undisclosed location in the Gambia,” an MFWA communique has revealed.

Manneh disappeared 7 July 2008 and human rights groups believe that the journalist was detained by Gambian security personnel.

According to the MFWA, the continued detention demands that Manneh’s family, colleagues and human rights advocates should continue to pressure the Gambian authorities about his whereabouts.

It said “The disappearance of the 30-year-old journalist has left his mother and father in a state of hopeless devastation and continues to put fear in journalists and other citizens of the Gambia.”

“All this is giving credence to the rumour that Manneh had been either murdered or brutally tortured that his captors are afraid that releasing him would only provide evidence of their brutalities.”

Meanwhile, the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), sitting in Abuja, Nigeria, had 5 June 2008 declared the detention of the journalist “illegal” and ordered the Gambian authorities to release him.

MFWA in June 2007, filed a complaint at the ECOWAS court, urging President Yahya Jammeh and his administration to produce Manneh and answer for his arrest and subsequent disappearance. Panapress .

Jammeh Yahya President of The Gambia  Jammeh Yahya, a former soldier in The Gambia Armed Forces, deposed President Dawda Jawara of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on 22 July, 1994, in a bloodless coup. He has since won all elections conducted in the West African nation. Jammeh’s supporters see him as a great pan-African leader whilst his critics argue that he is an eccentric dictator.
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