Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Detained journalists released, charged with felony

Mr. Baboucarr Ceesay (L) and Abubacarr Saidykhan are accused of conspiring to commit felony: PHOTO/Daily News

Gambian journalists, Mr. Baboucarr Ceesay and Mr. Abubacarr Saidykhan who were arrested and detained last Thursday have been freed on Monday afternoon but charged.

The two are reported to have requested for a permit from the police to hold a peaceful demonstration (a constitutional right) over the recent execution of nine death row inmates by the Jammeh administration.

The police accused them of "conspiring to commit felony" but a date for a hearing has not been set yet. The North Bank Evening Standard understands investigations are ongoing. 

They were granted police bail of D250, 000 with one Gambian surety each, after spending nearly more than 72 hours (the legal limit) in custody at the Police Division of the International Police Agency, Interpol in the capital, Banjul.

Mr. Ceesay, a 1st Vice President of the Gambia Press Union and Mr. Saidykhan, a freelance journalist and former judicial correspondent of the Foroyaa newspaper are expected to report to the police on  17 September, 2012. 

The two, who are also activists are reported to have planned as part of the peaceful protest to march from Arch 22 to State House in Banjul.

Following their arrest and subsequent detention, family sources said the journalists were escorted to their respective houses in handcuffs for a search on Friday 7 September 2012. They also said the police went away with not only their sons but took away some documents with them.

In 2009, Mr. Saidykhan was arrested for merely taking a photo of his managing editor at the Foroyaa who was under arrest. He was charged with conspiracy and sedition among others only to be released from detention a week later after prosecutors failed to prove any case against him.

However, six other journalists with whom Mr. Saidykhan was detained along with were convicted and sentenced to two years on the same charges with exorbitant fines.

Written by Modou S. Joof


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