IFJ Demands Independent Investigations Two Years After Murder of Deyda Hydara in The Gambia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today renewed its call on the government of the Republic of The Gambia to allow independent investigations into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara in order to bring his killers to justice.

Today, on the eve of the second anniversary of his murder, Hydara’s killers are still at large. The investigations by the Gambian police force and later the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) into this brutal murder failed to identify Deyda’s murderers. These investigations blamed Hydara for being responsible for his own death instead of identifying and bringing to justice those responsible for his tragic killing.

“On the eve of the second anniversary of the brutal murder of Deyda Hydara, the IFJ renews its demand that the Gambian government allow independent investigations as the Gambian Police and the NIA have failed to make any headway in the task assigned to them,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “If the regime of the President Yayah Jammeh has nothing to hide on this killing, it should not hesitate anymore to allow a full, independent and international investigation in this crucial case.”

Hydara, the editor and co-proprietor of the private newspaper The Point was shot dead on 16 December 2004 while he was dropping off two of his colleagues after celebrating the thirteenth anniversary of the establishment of the newspaper. Deyda was also the AFP correspondent in The Gambia and was very critical of the government’s repressive media laws, most especially the Media Commission Bill, which he and some of his colleagues challenged in court.

The IFJ is very worried about the continued crackdown on the press in The Gambia. Chief Ebrima Manneh, a journalist with the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper, has been missing since 7 July and is said to be held by the NIA. Some sources have indicated that he was last seen at a beach party organised by the government to commemorate the successful hosting of the African Union Summit in The Gambia.

Furthermore, The Independent newspaper has been closed since March 2006. Since then at least six journalists have been arbitrarily arrested, detained and later released without being charged. Lamin Fatty, a journalist with The Independent newspaper, is still on trial at a Magistrate Court, charged with publishing false information while other prominent journalists have fled the country.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries