Monday, January 7, 2013

Gambian Journalist Abdoulie John Detained Again

Abdoulie John, the Banjul-based editor of online paper JollofNews was first arrested by the National Intelligence Agency on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012 .Photo | BABOUCARR CEESAY 
The North Bank Evening Standard has been reliably informed that Gambian journalist Abdoulie Jonh has been detained again.

Mr. John
was detained after reported at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul on Monday Jan. 7, 2013 as part of a weekly routine since Dec. 10.

Sources said he was then escorted to his house in Tallinding (about 20 minutes drive from Banjul) for a search.

Family sources said the NIA drove off with him in a pickup back to Banjul after they could not find anything "implicating" at the house.

"He has not returned since," one of them said of Mr. John who is believed to be detained at the NIA headquarters in Banjul.

A local journalist who accompanied John to the NIA said he sat down at the reception of the NIA waiting for John for about three hours but but he was nowhere to be seen.  

"This is unusual, normally when he reports to the NIA he spend there an average of 30 minutes," the journalist told The North Bank Evening Standard. 

"This continuous harassment and a moral torture of Abdoulie John must stop. As journalist he was just doing his job. Authorities must end these never ending interrogations of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and let journalist Abdoulie John work freely," Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director said.

John, A Banjul-based editor of an online newspaper, JollofNews, and Associated Press's stringer was first arrested on Sunday 9 December 2012 by state security forces after a confrontation with President Yahya Jammeh's personal photographer, Sulayman Gassama.

Gassama is reported to have insisted on knowing who had invited John to cover the release of the eight Senegalese who were held hostage by the Casamance rebels (MFDC) at a ceremony held in Casamance, 200km from the Gambian-border village of Tamba Kunda.

John was later released on bail of 1500 US dollars on December 10 and asked to report to the NIA every week. His passport was kept and he was asked to hand over his laptop and mobile phones.
"Our colleague is in grave danger in a country where independent reporting is seen as a sin by authorities. We support him and have kept an eye on his security," Baglo added.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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Last updated 1/8/13 +12:34 (twelve30four) 

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