(MFWA/IFEX) - 7 July 2010 - Today, July 7, 2010 marks the fourth year of the arrest and detention of a Gambian journalist, Chief Ebrima Manneh, a reporter of Banjul-based pro government, Daily Observer newspaper.
Colleagues of Manneh witnessed his arrest at the newspaper's premises by personnel from the dreaded state security, National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and since then, he has been seen in public in the company of state security agents undergoing medical treatment at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul but the Gambian government has continuously refused to acknowledge arresting him. Simply put, he has "disappeared".
Following continuous demands for the release from family members and civil society groups including the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the police after eight months broke their silence and denied ever arresting him or detaining him in their custody.
In 2008, the ECOWAS Community Court in a landmark decision ordered the Gambian authorities to release him and pay him US$100,000 in damages. MFWA brought the suit on behalf of Manneh after government inaction on the matter.
When the case opened, the Gambian government stubbornly refused to enter an appearance and to date has not complied with the regional court order. Instead it has consistently accused the country's opposition of abducting the journalist to discredit it.
MFWA reiterates its call to ECOWAS leaders to ensure that the Gambian authorities comply with the court's directive.
We urge you to protest this and other forms of injustices committed against Gambians.