Gambia: Police Detain Two Journalists
September 08, 2012
By Ebrima G. Sankareh, Editor-in-Chief, The Gambia Echo
Tow Gambian journalists, Messrs. Babucarr Ceesay, Gambia Press Union (GPU) vice president and Africa Review Banjul correspondent and colleague, freelancer, Aboubacarr Saidykhan, were arrested and detained by Banjul police for filling a demonstration application permit
following the recent executions in The Gambia that provoked international outcry due largely to the mini West African state’s flawed judicial system coupled with the fact that majority of those executed were political prisoners.
Ceesay and Saidykhan walked to Banjul’s Police headquarters on Thursday to submit their application with the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as required by Gambian law. However, according to reliable reports, no sooner had the application reviewing officers read the contents of the application, than they decided to arrest the couple immediately.
Since then, the duo has undergone a regime of interrogations with officers of the much feared National Intelligence Agency as well as the Serious Crimes Unit; interrogations which are often grueling if not traumatizing.
Quoting Emil Touray, GPU president, our source reports that Touray confirmed the arrest and detention of Ceesay and Saidykhan. Emil also told our source that he and GPU Lawyer, Lamin Camara, visited the Police headquarter in Banjul on Friday but the lawyer was denied access to the detained journalists. “We only saw Aboubacarr Saidykhan at a distance but could not see Babucarr Ceesay” our source quoted Touray.
Predictably, Babucarr Ceesay’s invisibility while in detention may not have been accidental. According to our sources, the conscientious journalist recently created a Facebook page captioned Gambia Free Expression, which has since gone viral among social media fanatics in The Gambia; a country dying for freedom.
GPU’s VP, Mr. Ceesay, is an investigative journalist, publishes The Gambia Watchdog and is erstwhile editor of The Voice and The Daily newspapers.