Gambia government urged to ‘take action’ on missing journalist

7 years after his disappearance in mysterious circumstances

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By Sanna Camara

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has called on the Gambian government to take action on the case of missing journalst Chief Ebrima Mnneh, following 7 years of his arrest and subsequent disappearance.

The ECOWAS Court in a ruling in June 2008 declared Manneh’s arrest and detention illegal and ordered the Gambian government to release and compensate him with an amount of US$100,000.

“July 7, 2013 marked exactly 7years since Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a reporter of the pro-government newspaper, Daily Observer, in the Gambia disappeared. Chief Manneh was on July 7, 2006 arrested by officers of the Gambia National Intelligence Agency (NIA) following an attempt to republish an article he downloaded from the internet, which was critical of President Yahya Jammeh’s administration,”  dispatch from the Foundation stated.

Victim of ‘forced’ disappearance

He has since been globally regarded as a victim of ‘forced’ disappearance because the Gambian government continues to deny custody of him and has clearly refused to conduct any investigations into his whereabouts, said the sub-regional media lobby group.

It added: “Within the period (July 2006 – July 2013) Gambia’s senior government officials, including President Jammeh, Marie Saine-Firdaus, the former Minister of Justice, Edward Gomez, former Attorney General, Yankuba Sonko, Inspector General of Police have made conflicting statements about his whereabouts.”

For instance in 2009, Firdaus told the Gambian National Assembly that Manneh is not in the custody of the state. However, in a 2011 interview with the Daily News, Gomez claimed that Manneh was alive, pre-supposing that the State has information on the whereabouts of Chief Manneh.

Respect the ECOWAS Court’s ruling.

According to Media Foundation, the Gambia has to date (5years since the ruling), refused to respect the Court’s ruling.

The MFWA, on the occasion of the 7th year of his disappearance calls on the ECOWAS Commission to compel the Gambian government to respect the ECOWAS Court’s ruling on Manneh.

We are, therefore, entreating all Gambians, International and regional human rights groups and activists, governments, inter-governmental bodies/agencies to join the campaign, calling for The Gambia to respect freedom of expression and comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decisions.

 

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