Friday, June 8, 2012

Gambia: IFJ presses US, Gambia over missing journalist's fate

International Federation of Journalists - The global press freedom body, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has urged the governments of America and the Gambia to disclose information on the whereabouts of missing Gambian journalist, Chief Ebrima Manneh, PANA reports Wednesday. 

IFJ, in statement, said Manneh has not been seen since his arrested on 11 July, 2006, by the Gambia Police Force of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

The global press freedom body also recalled that Manneh's disappearance followed the murder of a prominent journalist, Deyda Hydara, who was killed on 16 December, 2004.

Meanwhile, Gambia's Police Chief, Yankuba Sonko, recently told journalists in Banjul that his organisation received information from Interpol that Chief Ebrima Manneh was in the US.

“The fact that six years on, The Gambia government has failed to resolve the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh and the murder of Deyda Hydara is a bad sign,” Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director, argued.

“We call on the US Government to investigate the Gambian authorities’ claim that the missing journalist may be on the American territory.”

According to IFJ, Gambian authorities have been making conflicting statements over the disappearance of Chief Manneh.

“The Gambia is among the African countries with the worst record on freedom of expression and media freedom,” Mr.  Baglo added.

Chief Manneh, a former reporter of the pro-government Banjul-based Daily Observer newspaper, was  said to be arrested at the Daily Observer premises in the presence of his colleagues.

However, Gambian authorities have denied arresting and holding the journalist.

IFJ further recalled that on 5 June, 2008, The ECOWAS Community Court in Nigeria ruled that the arrest and detention incommunicado of Chief Ebrima Manneh was 'illegal and ordered the Gambian authorities to immediately release him.'

The Court dismissed the claims by the Gambian side that Manneh was never in their custody, and awarded damages in the sum of US$ 100,000 in favor of Manneh against the Gambian government.

'So far The Gambia government has neither complied with the judgment of ECOWAS nor engaged in a thorough investigation to shed light on the disappearance of missing journalist.'

Pana 07/06/2012

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