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MFWA files another lawsuit against government over illegal detention and torture of journalist Musa Saidykhan

(MFWA/IFEX) - The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has filed another suit at the Community Court of the Economic Committee of West Africa States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria against the Gambian government over a case of illegal detention and torture of journalist Musa Saidykhan.

Saidykhan, editor-in-chief of "The Independent", a banned bi-weekly Banjul-based newspaper, is among scores of victims who were illegally detained and suffered all manner of cruelty including torture at the hands of President Yahya Jammeh's security agents in the aftermath of an alleged coup attempt in March 2006.

"I was stripped naked while live-electric shocks were administered all over my body including my genitals. I was told by my torturers that electric shocks on my genitals were meant to make me impotent," recalled Saidykhan.

Following a news report of the attempted coup, "The Independent"'s offices were raided and its entire staff arrested and briefly detained. On the night of 27 March 2006, a combined force of armed soldiers and policemen arrested Saidykhan in his home and took him to the notoriously feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters. He was held incommunicado for 22 days without any charge during which he was tortured until he became unconscious. The continuous torture left physical scars on his back, legs, arms, and his right hand which was broken in three places.

Following persistent threats, Saidykhan joined the growing number of Gambians fleeing the flagrant disregard for human rights of the regime of President Jammeh.

"The Independent" until its closure had never had peace under Jammeh's rule. Since it shut down, security personnel have made the premises one of their bases.

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