The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
today condemned massive arrests of members and leaders of
independent media organizations in Gambia, including the Gambia
Press Union (GPU) an IFJ affiliate.
"We firmly condemn these massive arrest of journalists
and leaders of the Gambia Press
Union. This climate of terror against the journalists and the media is
unacceptable," said Gabriel Baglo,
Director of IFJ Africa Office. "The unprecedented arrests and illegal detention
of journalists in The Gambia are systematic violations of the fundamental rights of journalists orchestrated by the Yahya Jammeh regime to suppress freedom of expression in
the country. It is a callous attempt to
silence the media and press freedom."
On Monday 16 June, seven Gambian
journalists were arrested and detained for questioning. Three GPU executive members
were summoned and arrested in the morning by the National Intelligence Agency
(NIA). They are Emil Touray, Secretary General , Sarata Jabbi, First
Vice President and Pa Modou Faal- GPU Treasurer. By midday, Pap Saine and Ebrima Sawaneh, respectively editor and deputy editor of The Point newspaper were
also arrested by the NIA. In the evening, Sam Sarr and Abubucarr Saidykhan,
respectively editor and reporter of Foroyaa newspaper were also picked up by
the agents from the NIA.
Pap Saine had just been released by the Banjul magistrate court following charges brought against
him for obtaining Gambian identity
card and passport by false pretence when he was asked to continue to
the NIA headquarters in Banjul
straight from the court.
Relatives and human rights lawyers have tried to reach
both the NIA authorities and the Police to secure the release of these
journalists, without success.
The IFJ calls on the Gambia
Government to immediately and unconditionally release all seven journalists. In
the same vein, the IFJ also calls on the Economic Community of West African
States, ECOWAS, and Dr Ibn Chambas, President of the ECOWAS Commission to
demand the immediate release of the journalists and the restoration of press
freedom in the Gambia.
For more information, contact +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000
journalists in 123 countries worldwide