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Celebrated TV broadcaster detained without charge in The Gambia

A state TV broadcaster and celebrated show host, Ms Fatou Camara, has been languishing in custody at the headquarters of the dreaded National Intelligence Agency (NIA), since her arrest on September 17, 2013.

Approximately eight days after her arrest – Ms Camara who is also the Director of Press and Public Relations at the Office of President Yahya Jammeh – has been denied access to her family and lawyers.

According to the MFWA's sources in the country, she has been placed under investigation and no charge has been preferred against her. The NIA also took her passwords and searched through her emails.

According to the sources, Camara's arrest is linked to allegations from the State House that she has been passing information to the international media, particularly a US-based newspaper, Freedom Newspaper, which is critical of President Jammeh.

The NIA arrested her on September 15, 2013 and interrogated her for two days before releasing her on September 17. However, barely an hour after her release, she was re-arrested purportedly on an order from the State House, the sources reported.

“Before her re-arrest, the NIA demanded for passwords to her email, skype and facebook accounts,” a family source said.

The MFWA protests this arbitrary detention which is a clear violation of a person's right to liberty. The continuous detention of Ms Camara contradicts provisions under Article 19 sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Constitution of The Gambia which protects citizens from arbitrary arrests and detentions.

We thus, condemn her detention and demand that the authorities uphold the Constitution and ensure her immediate release or charge her to Court.

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  • Broadcast journalist held without charge in Gambia

    When Camara was initially detained, NIA agents ordered Camara to open her email and Facebook accounts so they could search for evidence against her, according to news reports citing the journalist's family. Camara's family members told CPJ that Jammeh had ignored recommendations from the NIA that the journalist be released. The NIA said they did not find any incriminating evidence against her during their investigation, according to the family.

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