The IFJ Denounces the Arrest of Journalist in The Gambia

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the arbitrary

arrest and detention of Abdoulie John, a Gambian journalist who was reportedly

held by national security officers yesterday.

 

“We are

seriously concerned for the physical safety of Abdoulie and urge the Gambian

authorities to first indicate where he is detained and immediately release him,”

said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director. “We insist on knowing the place of his

detention because his arrest reminds us of the case of Chief Ebrimah Manneh who

disappeared in 2006 in similar circumstances. We will hold authorities in The

Gambia entirely responsible for our colleague’s life,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ

Africa Director.

 

According to

independent sources in The Gambia, Abdoulie John, editor of a website, Joloff

news, wasarrested on Sunday 9 December by security forces on the

order of the National Intelligence Agency after a confrontation with President Yaya

Jammeh’s personal photographer, Sulaylan Gassama.  

 

Reports say that

the incident took place in a Gambian village where John was covering a ceremony

in which eight Senegalese soldiers were released after a 14-month detention

with the rebels in the South Casamance region.   Gassama reportedly

insisted on knowing who had invited John to the ceremony.

 

The reporter is

said to have referred him to the organizer but later the director of the

National Intelligence Agency Director ordered security forces to arrest the

journalist. He was put in a military pick-up and taken to a police station from

where he is believed to have been transferred to Banjul.

 

The IFJ says

that John’s arrest is arbitrary and blatant intimidation of a journalist who

had the right to cover a public event.

 

“The incident

fits the pattern of ruthless repression of independent reporting in Gambia

where harassment, torture and killings of journalists are common since President

Jammeh came to power,” added Baglo. “Our colleague is in grave danger and the

international community must raise the alarm before it is too late.”

 

For more

information, please contact IFJ:  +221 33 867 95 86

The IFJ represents over 600.000

journalists in 134 countries