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Authorities fail to find editor's killers after seven years

(MFWA/IFEX) - Today marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of veteran Gambian publisher and press freedom advocate Deyda Hydara, killed on the night of December 16, 2004. In marking this occasion, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is renewing its call on African leaders to intervene in the deteriorating human rights situation in The Gambia.

Hydara, an avowed critic of President Yahya Jammeh, was shot three times in the head. Two of his female staff, Ida Jagne and Nyang Sarang Jobe, who were with him that night, were shot in the legs. Earlier in the day, his newspaper, "The Point", celebrated its 13th anniversary.

After several years of a lack of serious investigations into the murder by The Gambian authorities, two of his children have filed a suit at the ECOWAS Community Court asking it to compel the authorities to conduct full investigations into the matter. MFWA has already filed two other cases on behalf of journalists whose rights were abused to seek justice for them.

The murder of Hydara has been followed by an increase in the number of violent attacks on journalists and the media. Newspapers and radio stations considered critical of the government have been closed down. Journalists publishing anything unpalatable to the government have also received their fair share of the violent treatment. Several of them, fearing arrest and torture, have escaped into exile.

MFWA is urging the international community to sustain pressure on President Jammeh's government to end impunity and improve on the horrific media rights situation in the country.

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