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Call for justice 7 years after Gambia's Chief Manneh disappears

July 2013 marks exactly seven years since Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a reporter for the Daily Observer newspaper in The Gambia, disappeared. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is asking for your help seeking justice in his case. Automatically send an email letter now to ECOWAS and Gambian officials!

Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a Gambian reporter who disappeared in July 2006.
Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a Gambian reporter who disappeared in July 2006.

Media Foundation for West Africa

On 7 July 2006, Chief Manneh was arrested by Gambia National Intelligence Agency officers following an attempt to republish an article he downloaded from the Internet, which was critical of President Yahya Jammeh's administration.

He has since been globally regarded as a victim of forced disappearance because the Gambian government continues to deny it has custody of him and has clearly refused to conduct any investigations into his whereabouts. Send an email letter now to ECOWAS and Gambian officials!

Gambia's senior government officials, including President Jammeh, the former Minister of Justice and judicial and police officials, have made conflicting statements about Manneh's whereabouts. The Minister disputed that Manneh was in custody, while the Attorney General said he was alive – thus indicating the state had some information on him.

In 2007, the MFWA took the Gambian government to court at the regional body – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – trying to find answers to his case. The Court ruled the following year that Manneh's arrest and detention were illegal and ordered the Gambian government to release him and compensate him with US$100,000.

However, five years later, The Gambia still refuses to respect the Court's ruling. Furthermore, the country has also failed to implement a December 2010 ruling by the ECOWAS Community Court to provide compensation to Musa Saidykhan, the former editor-in-chief of The Independent newspaper, after he was tortured by President Yahya Jammeh's security agents while in detention in 2006.

On the seventh anniversary of his disappearance, the MFWA calls on the ECOWAS Commission to compel the Gambian government to respect the ECOWAS Court's ruling on Manneh.

Surrounding the 43rd Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on 17 and 18 July in Nigeria, MFWA is asking for your support to call on The Gambia to respect freedom of expression and comply with the ECOWAS Court's decisions.

Join the campaign to ensure The Gambia respects and complies with the regional Court's decisions. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Fill in the box above right and automatically send an email letter (full text below) to ECOWAS and Gambian officials now!

The letter

His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo
ECOWAS Commission

Cc: His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh
Head of State
Republic of The Gambia

Your Excellency,

I am concerned about the Gambian government’s continuous non-compliance with the decisions of the Community Court of Justice. The Gambia has refused to respect the decisions of the Court in two cases litigated against it by the regional Freedom of Expression organisation, Media Foundation for West Africa, namely the cases of Chief Ebrimah Manneh and The Republic of the Gambia, and Musa Saidykhan and The Republic of the Gambia.

Although The Gambia is a signatory to the ECOWAS Protocol establishing the Community Court of Justice, it has to date refused to comply with the rulings on both cases.

Recognising the negative impact of non-compliance on the reputation of the Community Court and the pursuit of regional peace and stability, I plead with Your Excellency and the esteemed Commission to take immediate action to ensure that member states comply with the Court’s decisions.

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