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Two family members of exiled opposition leader arrested for displaying political campaign materials

(MFWA/IFEX) - Two family members of Mai Fatty, an exiled leader of the opposition Gambian Moral Congress (GMC) party, were detained by the Gambian police over the display of photographs of Fatty and other GMC campaign materials at their family home in the Upper River Administrative Division of the Gambia.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that Bunka Fatty, father of the GMC leader, was the first to be picked-up by the police in the afternoon of March 7, 2011, at his home.

The sources said he was released on March 8 after his son, Mohammadu Fatty, who claimed he was responsible for displaying the campaign materials, was arrested and detained after being summoned. He was released on the same day upon the intervention of the Governor of Upper River, Omar Khan, allegedly on the grounds of "mental illness".

In a communiqué issued on March 8, the GMC accused President Yahya Jammeh of masterminding the arrests of the two. It said the GMC hoisted the party flag and displayed the photographs of its leader as a "symbolic representation" of their take-over of the region. The communiqué added that the GMC's meeting in the area on March 2 attracted some bigwigs of Jammeh's ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party, who pledged their support for the GMC.

While condemning this arrest and other human rights violations of Gambians by President Jammeh's regime, MFWA appeals to the international community to ensure that the Gambian government conducts the 2011 presidential elections in a free, fair and transparent manner.

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