Tuesday, 9 March 2010

HUMRA condemns arrest of rights defender in Gambia

The Sweden based Human Rights for All (HUMRA), has issued a statement, expressing ‘‘deep concern’’ over recent announcement of the arrest, detention and pending trial of Mr Edwin Nebolisa Nkawaeme, the founder and Director of Africa in Democracy and Good governance (ADG), by the Gambian authorities, on charges of false information.
‘‘Mr. Nebolisa’s arrest and prosecution is of great concern to us,’’ the statement by the organization’s coordinator, Yaya Dampha, which was emailed to Jollof News reads. And it added, ‘‘we fear that he might not receive free and fair trial, considering the fact that his rights have already been violated under the Gambia’s own 1997 Constitution.’’
The statement from HUMRA cited the Gambian Constitution which forbids detention without charges beyond 72 hours. The statement added that the ADG boss has already spent ‘‘eight good days’’ in detention before being hastily taken to court unnoticed.
This incident is a fervent reminder of President Yahya Jammeh’s widely published statement last August that he will ‘‘cut off’’ heads of so-called human rights defenders who were bent on sabotaging his government.
To this effect, HUMRA calls on the Gambian authorities to discontinue the ADG director’s trial and release him from police detention with immediate effect.
‘‘Further more, the government of the Gambia should desist from mingling in the work of human rights defenders in Gambia, for this only demonstrates a bad image of the country,’’ the statement concludes.

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