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"The Point" editor arrested on charges of "spreading false information"

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 2 February 2009, following an article which appeared in the Banjul-based "The Point" newspaper, Pap Saine, editor and co-publisher, together with senior reporter Modou Sanyang, were arrested by officers of the Gambia Police Force and detained at the serious crime unit of the police headquarters in Banjul, the capital. Sanyang was cautioned and released. However Saine, who is not in good health, was kept at the crime unit until about 11:00 p.m. (local time) and was charged with "publishing and spreading false information." He denied the charges. Pap Saine is to appear before the court on 3 February.

MFWA sources say the editor's arrest and subsequent detention are linked to a story his newspaper carried in its 30 January edition. The story, headlined: "Arrested Gambian Diplomat Sent to Mile 2", alleged that the financial attaché at the Gambian Embassy in the United States, Lamini Sabi Sanyang, who was reportedly arrested in January shortly after arriving in The Gambia, had been moved from detention at police headquarters in Banjul to Mile 2 Prison.

Gambian police officers reportedly ordered Saine to reveal his sources; when he refused, he was charged and detained. The Gambian government, however, has not published any rebuttal to the story.

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