Amnesty International has described the detained journalists as “prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom expression.” The human rights body wants people to sign petition to the relevant Gambian authorities.
Journalists Musa Sheriff and Sainey M.K. Marenah have been in detention since 13 January. They have been charged with “giving false information to a public officer” following an article published in the privately-owned newspaper The Voice.
The journalists were charged with violating Chapter XIII of the Criminal Code, often used to target journalists who are exercising their freedom of expression. It is not clear whether Sheriff and Marenah will appear brought before a court of law within 72 hours or released.
The arrest, detention and subsequent detention of Musa and Sainey on December 9 followed the paper’s publication of a defection story of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction (APRC) party to the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP). The paper ran a rejoinder after the APRC contested the story.
Plain clothes officers stormed The Voice offices in Serekunda, interrogated staff and requested copies of December 9th article. Security agents arrested Editor-In-Chief Musa Sheriff and escorted him to Sanyang police station. The author of the story Sainey Marenah, a freelance journalist turned himself in after he was summoned to Sanyany police. The two have since been in police custody.
Amnesty International wants people to write immediately in English or your own language and do the following:
n Calling on the Gambian authorities to release Musa Sheriff and Sainey M.K. Marenah immediately and unconditionally, as they are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression;
n Urging them to remove unlawful restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly from the legislation in The Gambia.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 FEBRUARY 2014 TO:
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Fax: +220 422 9908
Salutation: Dear Director
Minister of Interior and NGO Affairs
Ministry of Interior and NGO Affairs
No.5 J.R. Forster Street (Ex. Fitzgerald
Fax: +220 420 1320
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs, International
Dr Aboubacar Senghore
Corporation and Gambians Abroad
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4, Marina Parade
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: Name Address 1, Address 2, Address 3, Fax Fax number, Email, Email, address, Salutation, Salutation.