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Renowned Gambian religious leader held incommunicado for days

UPDATE: MFWA calls for international support for detained Imam The whereabouts of Leigh remain unknown and not even his family have been granted access to him. (MFWA, 11 January 2013)

(MFWA/IFEX) - Imam Baba Leigh, an Islamic cleric of Kanifing South Mosque was, on 3 December, 2012, picked up from his home by plain-clothes officers from the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul, the capital.

Leigh, a fierce critic of President Jammeh's government and an outspoken religious leader has since been in detention at the Mile II State Central Prison and has been refused access to his lawyer and family members.

According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s sources, Leigh has constantly condemned and criticized the dire human rights situation and culture of impunity that has engulfed the country.

According to the sources, though no reason has been given, the arrest is widely linked to comments he made in August condemning the execution of nine death row inmates by the Yayha Jammeh-led government, describing the act as inimical to Islamic teachings and precepts.

The MFWA emphatically condemns the unlawful arrest and detention of Leigh, which adds to the growing list of acts and violations against freedom of expression in the Gambia.

Realizing that he has been detained beyond the constitutionally mandated duration, the MFWA demands his unconditional release and cautions security officials to refrain from committing further unlawful acts against Leigh.

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