Madam Marietje Bohmer, Campaign Advisor of Amnesty International, on Monday called on the Government of Ghana to assist in the immediate release of Mr Ebrimah Manneh, a Gambian journalist, who was allegedly kidnapped by the Gambian authorities.
She appealed to the Ghanaian authorities and the public “to serve as crusaders against alleged arbitrary use of power and called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Ebrimah.
Madam Bohmer, who made the appeal at a conference in Accra on Monday, alleged that the journalist was arrested by Gambian Policemen in plainclothes because he released a story considered as critical by the Gambian security to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publication.
She accused the Gambian government of involvement in the illegal arrest of the journalist.
Madam Bohmer said “Though the government issued an official statement on 21 February 2007 denying any involvement in the arrest, a year after his arrest, he was reportedly sent to the hospital for treated for high blood pressure, with an escort from the Police Intervention Unit of the Gambian Police force”.
She said though the Community Court of Justice for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), ruled that Mr Manneh’s right to liberty and fair trial, under Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights had been violated by the arrest, Gambia Government had ignored the directive.
Madam Bohmer said “His family have had no contact with him since his arrest and his whereabouts have never been confirmed, though current reports suggest that he is being held in a secret location in the Banjul area”.
She said the mother of the journalist recently told some officials of Amnesty International that the family members were financially distressed because they were dependent on Mr Manneh’s salary for their upkeep.
Madam Bohmer alleged that human rights situation in the Gambia had deteriorated and added that journalists, human right activists and members of political opposition parties had been arbitrarily arrested by the Gambian government.
She alleged that President Jammeh’s government was perpetrator of unlawful arrests and detention of journalists, editors, lawyers and citizens of Gambia.
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