Annual Prison Census 2012 - Gambia
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||11 December 2012|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2012 - Gambia, 11 December 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50c7028231.html [accessed 22 July 2014]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2012
"Chief" Ebrima Manneh, Daily Observer
Imprisoned: July 7, 2006
Two plainclothes officers of the National Intelligence Agency arrested "Chief" Ebrima Manneh at the office of his newspaper, the pro-government Daily Observer, according to witnesses. The reason for the arrest was unclear, although some colleagues believe it was linked to his attempt to republish a BBC article critical of President Yahya Jammeh.
Despite dozens of inquiries from international organizations, the government has not provided a credible account of what happened to Manneh after he was taken into custody. In 2008, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States ruled that Gambia had unlawfully seized Manneh and ordered his immediate release.
Yet only sketchy and conflicting details have emerged about Manneh's whereabouts, health, and legal status. Witnesses reported seeing Manneh in government custody in December 2006 and in July 2007, according to CPJ research. Agence France-Presse quoted an unnamed police official in 2009 as saying that Manneh had been spotted at Mile 2 Prison in 2008. But the official also speculated that Manneh was no longer alive, AFP reported. In a nationally televised meeting with local media representatives in March 2011, President Jammeh described Manneh as having died while denying any government involvement in the journalist's fate. "Let me make it very clear that the government has nothing to do with the death of Chief Manneh," he said.
But Justice Minister Edward Gomez provided contradictory information just months later. In an October 2011 interview with the local newspaper Daily News, Gomez said that Manneh was alive. "Chief Ebrima Manneh is alive, and we will talk about this case later," Gomez told AFP in a subsequent interview.