Annual Prison Census 2009: Gambia
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||8 December 2009|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2009: Gambia, 8 December 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b220ca0c.html [accessed 30 January 2015]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2009
"Chief" Ebrima Manneh, Daily Observer
Imprisoned: July 7, 2006
Manneh, a journalist for the state-controlled Daily Observer, was arrested after he tried to publish a BBC report critical of President Yahya Jammeh. His colleagues witnessed his arrest by two plainclothes officers of the National Intelligence Agency on the premises of the Daily Observer.
Demba Jawo, a former president of the Gambian Press Union, said Manneh may have been further targeted for his reporting of the 2005 killing of Ghanaian immigrants in the Gambia.
Gambian security agencies and police have consistently refused to provide information on the journalist's whereabouts, health, or legal status.
Manneh has been seen but a few times since his arrest. A fellow journalist reported seeing him on the grounds of Fatoto Prison in late 2006. The next year, witnesses told the Ghana-based press freedom group Media Foundation of West Africa that Manneh was being treated for high blood pressure at the Royal Victorian Teaching Hospital in Banjul.
The case has galvanized a variety of forces to pressure the Gambian government. In November, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that Manneh's imprisonment was unlawful under international law and called on the Gambian government to release him immediately. In April, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin led a group of six colleagues in calling for Manneh's release. And in 2008, the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States ordered the Gambian government to release Manneh and compensate his family for an illegal detention.