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Letter From B’ham With PK Jarju: Let Imam Baba Leigh Go

IMAM BABA LEIGH(Column) – Mr President, it’s well past mid-night here in the West Midlands and I should have been fast asleep in my bed. But my conscience cannot allow me to enjoy the comfort of my bed without condemning the arrest and continuous detention of Imam Baba Leigh and demanding for his immediate release.

Imam Leigh of the Kanifing East mosque is currently held at the NIA headquarters in Banjul since his arrest by NIA officers over a week ago. He is yet to be charged with any crime and is not allowed access to his family or able to lead his congregation in prayers.

Mr President, this is a serious violation of the rights and freedoms of Imam Leigh, which are clearly guaranteed in the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia. And it is worth reminding you that as president of the Gambia, you have on many occasions swore by the Qur’an to uphold and defend that very same constitution at all time without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
Section 19 (1) of the Gambian Constitution states that: “Every person shall have the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary, arrest or detention...”

It further states in Section 19 (2) that “Any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any case within three hours, in a language that he or she can understands, of the reasons for his or her arrest or detention and of his or her right to consult a legal practitioner.

Further protecting the rights and liberties of the people, the constitution states in Section 19 (3) that any person who is arrested or detained-

(a)  for the purpose of bringing him or her before a court in execution of the order of a court, or

(b) upon reasonable suspicion of his or her having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under the Laws of the Gambia, and who is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court and, in any event, within 72  hours.

Mr President, the continuous detention of Imam Leigh incommunicado in violation of the constitutional provisions is a cause for concern. Even though the Gambian constitution is neither a Bible nor Qur’an as you have always argued, it should be treated with maximum respect like the Bible and Qur’an as it established precedents according to which our great country is governed. And you should have known better as leader of 21st Century Gambia.

Mr President, Imam Leigh has got every right to express his opinions. And as Imam of thousands of worshippers, he has to uphold his religious duties by teaching them the words of his Allah even if they upset you and your government.

This is not the first time you have ordered for his arrest and detention. You arrested him in 2002 when I wrote an article in The Independent Newspaper in which he condemned you and your government for the wastage of public resources. It was wrong to arrest him then and it is completely out of order to arrest and detain him now for speaking out against the cold blooded murder of nine prisoners at the Mile Two Prisons.  And I hereby call for his immediate and unconditional release from detention.


0 #5 2012-12-20 12:40
In as much as I am believer that everyone has the right to freely express himself, i find it really insulting when I see Junior trying to make mockery of the sufferings of the Gambian people. Junior is a deluded bloke who despite being blessed with two big eyes, does not see what is right in front of him. I think Junior needs to go back to primary school and learn how to write proper English. Better still he can join the adult literacy programme and learn how to write in Wollof or Mandinka. What a knucklehead?
+3 #4 2012-12-19 12:30
As salamu alaikum....
Junior-I do not grasp your point. We are here discussing an Imam who is being beaten, and kept against his will for quoting which is in the Holy Qur'an.
What goes on around the world with muslims claiming to be; yet doing opposite, is deeply distressing as I have only been an Islamic follower for 2years. Insh allah we are coming to the Day of Resurrection, as these are signs-its a shame because we can turn this around as a people if we were to heed to warning as The HOly Prophet said.
May ALlah give Imam his martyrdom if he is to die in this way.
-2 #3 2012-12-18 12:03
there is no need sometimes to raise or open ur mouth bec people sometimes are always with smear talk , dont u open ur eyes to observer what is going in the arab countries whom u claim there islamic followers . so british are no belivers yet what are caurses on that , any person who say bismilliahi when either entering a bus or doing any thing does not know what it ment . u claim to be withness and has place in heaven declair nothing, christain are people with lowprofiles as also we are to gain place in heaven . GOD KNOWS.(TO FATIMAH JAMMEH )
+2 #2 2012-12-16 15:51
As salamu Alaikum.
Im shellshocked to know that The Holy Prophet, Muhammad (SAW) stated that NO MUSLIM SHOULD HARM ANOTHER MUSLIM, under any circumstances. That a fellow muslim should make peace within 3days.
The Gambia is 90% muslim, and yet they are acting like the non-believers; like here in UK.
I am sad, hurt and deeply ashamed to know that people who claim As salamu alaikum when they step into buses; say Bismillahi when they enter cars etc; and salat 5times a day, can then forget who is KING. Allah.
The PResident is sick; and needs the people to stand up to him. They fear him and yet not ALlah? It is written in the Glorious Qur'an. Allah warns us-we have a choice. The Imams of The Gambia, it is time to practice what you preach. Allah commands; not no human after Allah's Messenger, SAW.
I am still trying to find out why Imam Baba Leigh is held........
+2 #1 2012-12-15 08:04
It has been a great priviledge to observe the growing maturity, discipline and courage of PK Jarjue over these past 7 years. Gambian's have so much love to give the world.

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