By Sanna Camara
The leader of the Gambia Moral congress, mai Ahmed fatty, has called for the “immediate release” of the three detained persons. Mr. Fatty is also expressing “deep concerns” on the issue of unlawful detention of persons beyond the legal limit set by The Gambian Constitution.
In a statement dispatched to Gambia Beat this afternoon, Mr. Fatty said although GMC “reserve serious objections” to the manner in which the rule of law was held hostage under Lamin Jobarteh and Pa Harry Jammeh, that does not diminish in any way our obligation to fight for the due process rights of all persons.
Read below the full text of the release:
We call for the immediate release of the three detained persons. Although we reserve serious objections to the manner in which the rule of law was held hostage under Lamin Jobarteh and Pa Harry Jammeh, that does not diminish in any way our obligation to fight for the due process rights of all persons.
Once again, GMC expresses deep concerns on the issue of unlawful detention of persons beyond the legal limit set by The Gambian Constitution. Gambian law does not care whether investigations were completed or not for persons to be released, for that is an issue only courts can resolve. It is not for law enforcement agencies to decide at will when to release detainees or bring them before the courts. The Constitution is very clear and emphatic that no authority has the power to detain any person beyond 72hrs, after which the person(s) must either be released or be brought before a competent court of law. The disentitlement to unlawful detention is a fundamental human and constitutional right of every person in our country, which no individual, institution or authority can take away. The Government, which should be the chief enforcer of this provision, should not be found wanting in its execution. When a government behaves in a manner that renders the Constitution to ridicule or contempt, anarchy and impunity sets in, endangering the rule of law and ferociously uprooting the foundation of legitimacy.
It is therefore primarily in the interest of the State not only to comply with its own laws, but also to bring to account all persons, institutions or authority violating human right laws. Every provision in our Constitution is sacred and sacrosanct. It is the embodiment of our sovereign will. No authority should have the audacity to subject it to sacrilege without attracting definite legal consequences from the State. Those who held their hands on the Quran or the Bible and swore by the Allah or God, the Master of the Universe to protect, defend and execute the laws of our Land should not permit their integrity and faith be desecrated by those who foul our laws. Gambians believe that as a Faith Nation, if they do, retribution swift and total shall come from the Creator of all things, upon those who subject Allah’s (God’s) creation to torment. This is without prejudice to avenues available to the polity.
We urge all those in whose custody they may be, to do the right thing by our laws; release them or charge them before an impartial tribunal. Similary, we urge the authorities to intervene in the case of Observer Deputy Editor-in-Chief Alhaji Jobe and his co-accused persons, facing sedition charges. Enacting a Freedom of Information Act would substantially enable journalists to access relevant information and greatly minimise inadvertent publications. We believe in a democracy with a critical media, just as the State claims in its numerous pronouncements.
Dated the 3rd June 2013.
Mai Ahmad Fatty
GMC Party Leader