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Newspaper publisher detained again, ordered to stop publication, faces new charges

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 11 September 2008, Abdul Hamid Adiamoh, publisher and editor of "Today", a privately-owned Banjul-based newspaper, who is standing trial for allegedly "publishing with seditious intention", was arrested and detained by the Serious Crime Unit of the Gambian Police Force.

A ban was also immediately placed on the newspaper.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that the editor was grilled for about four hours before being released on bail.

The sources said new a charge of tax evasion has been preferred against the journalist.

This, the sources said, followed a testimony by a police officer who is a prosecution witness in Adiamoh's trial. On 10 September, the officer in his testimony told the court that Adiamoh has failed to honour his tax obligations to the state since 2006. The Nigerian-born journalist has also been accused of not having a permit to engage in business in the Gambia.

However, MFWA has learned that Adiamoh started his newspaper in July 2007.

This is the fourth time that Adiamoh has been arrested and detained by the police since his newspaper published a story about some Gambian children who are in the habit of collecting metal scraps from the waste dump, instead of being in the classroom.

Updates the Adiamoh case:

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