02 April 2011

Gambia News:Detention without Trial, Disappearances without Trace

FOROYAA -The Gambia -Foroyaa continues to monitor the long detention without trial and the disappearances without trace of Gambian citizens. Many of these family heads were said to have been picked up by men in plain clothes. According to some families, they are yet to establish the whereabouts of their loved ones since they were whisked away some years ago.
Mrs. Masireh (Marcie) Jammeh, Mr. Harunah Jammeh, Corporal Alfusainey Jammeh, a Prison warden, all natives of Kanilai in Foni in the Western Region of the Gambia and Mr. Jasarja (Sarja) Kujabi, a native of Foni Dobong, went missing since 14 July 2005.
The family of Masireh and Haruna Jammeh said their family heads were taken away in their presence and since then they have not set their eyes on them or heard of their whereabouts. Jasarja Kujabie’s family said he was arrested on his farm and was escorted to his home to change his farming clothes and was later taken away. The family said they have done all what they could do to get information about him but to no avail.
The family of Prison warden, Corporal Alfusainey Jammeh said he was stationed as guard at the compound of the Director General of The Gambia Prisons Service, Mr. David Colley for some time. They said he was called to report to Police Headquarters in Banjul, but he never returned home. The family said he later called to inform them that he was being detained, but did not give any reason for his detention.
The ex- District Chief of Foni Kansala, Alhagie Momodou Lamin Nyassi and his two close friends, Alhagie Buba Sanyang (alias Bubai Sanyang) and Ndongo Mboob, all natives of Foni Bwiam, went missing on the same day. Their families said the three friends were picked up by men in plain clothes on board a numberless white pickup vehicle on the evening of 4 April 2006, as the trio was seeing each other off after a visit from the house of Sanyang. The families said since then they have never heard or traced their whereabouts, even though they tried all avenues accessible to them.
Journalist Ebrima Manneh (alias Chief Manneh), a State House reporter for the Daily Observer Newspaper went missing since 7th July 2006. His family said he left for work on that day and never returned home. The father said he approached all the concerned authorities and influential personalities within the country for them to intervene to help in the search of his son, but his efforts did not yield any fruits. He said he had visited all the known prisons and numerous police stations across the country in search of his lost son but the authorities never allowed him access to the installations.
His colleagues at work said he was picked up by a man in plain clothes. They said he was later seen on board a white car heading towards Banjul and never returned to work.
The Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA) took the matter to the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja for The Gambia government to release him. The Gambian authorities never appeared before the Court even though the Court made it known that they were served with summon of the suit against them. After a long legal debate without Gambian government appearing in any sitting, the ECOWAS Court delivered judgment and asked the Banjul authorities to release him and to also compensate him an amount of US 100,000. Eight months after the Court’s order the Government made an official comment that Journalist Manneh had never been in their custody. Since then the matter was left like that.
Mr. Kanyiba Kanyi, an employee of the Christian Children Fund (CCF) said to be an opposition sympathizer, went missing since 18th September 2006. His family said he was arrested by men in plain clothes on board a cab at his house in Bonto village in Kombo East, while they looked on. They said his junior brother was later arrested on the same evening and detained over night at the Serious Crime Unit at Police Headquarters in Banjul.
His family said they took Lawyer Ousainou Darboe who filed a “Habeas Corpus” at the High Court for the state to produce him but to no avail. They said the matter has been in court for almost four years and no progress is forthcoming. They added that they do not even know where the case stands as at now. The family said they are completely devastated.
Major Wally Nyang of The Gambia Armed Forces is said to be in detention at the Mile II Central Prison since early March 2010. His family said he was arrested at his house at the Yundum Barracks shortly after he closed from work.
Mr. Abdoulie Njie and Alieu Lowe, both residents of Fagi Kunda are being detained at the Mile II prison since 27 March 2006. The duo were arrested in connection with the 21 March 2006 abortive coup plot. Their families said they have never heard charges preferred against them since their arrest. The family said they are allowed to visit them some times, but not at all times.
Mr. Ebou Jarju, a former Steward at State House, who was first arrested on 20 March 2008, in the presence of his family and held at Banjul Police station up to 11 January 2009, when he was released without any charges, only to be re-arrested a week later is still in custody. His family said he is currently being held at the Mile II Central Prison. They said they could not have access to him since then. The family said he was last seen two weeks ago at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital under the escort of Prison officers. They said he appeared drained.

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