By Abdou Karim Jallow
We are looking forward to our brothers and sisters being released from illegal and unconstitutional and arbitrary arrest and detention without trial. Currently there are a number of our sons and daughters languishing in state orchestrated detention and imprisonment. Many are and still continue to be deprived of their liberty on grounds not in accordance with law as guaranteed by Section 19 of the Constitution. Many of these people were never made known the reason or reasons for their detentions, and deprived their rights to consult legal practitioners. Some were never knowingly to us brought before a court. Others were tried by kangaroo courts and thus did not receive fair trials. No one person can tell except the authority who instructed for their detention if they have or being about to or upon reasonable suspicion to commit any criminal offence under the laws of The Gambia, which should have been made known to them within 3 hours of their arrest or detention, and should be brought before a court within 72 hours of their arrest or detention if not released (Section 19 (2), and (3) respectively of the Constitution of The Gambia).
It is amongst such unconstitutional rules that the people of The Gambia took bold steps to uproot the previous leadership, and to bring in a government that will respect the people and govern according to rule of law and respect for human rights; be the servant of the people and not be their master. We are in a new era and with the hope and conviction that the new government will measure to expectations of the people, and the first test is to do justice and release all political prisoners and detainees such as Mr. Ousman Jammeh, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture who has spent 15 months in detention without taken to court, Mr. Amadou Sanneh former Treasurer of the UDP who was tortured and never received a fair trial; Alhagie Ousman Sawaneh, the Imam of Kanifing South, who is believed to have spent over 200 days in detention, and the list goes on….. Please release them so that they can join their families and friends to celebrate the birth of a ‘New Gambia’. Let me please echo the words of wisdom of my great friend and Pan Africanist Mr. Samba Johm who highlights that “The task of nation building now commences. The era of talking is over and the time for action is now.”
Good Luck PRESIDENT BARROW and the COALITION!