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US 'Greatly Concerned' Over Gambia Imam's Detention

IMAM BABA LEIGH(AFP) – The United States expressed "great concern" Monday for the safety of outspoken Gambian religious leader Imam Baba Leigh, who was arrested last month and is being detained incommunicado.

The cleric was arrested on December 3 after criticising President Yahya Jammeh's regime for executing nine death row inmates last year.

The United States is "greatly concerned about the welfare and safety of Imam Baba Leigh," the US embassy in Banjul said in a statement.

"Imam Baba Leigh remains unaccounted for and the government of the Gambia has denied his family the opportunity to visit him," it added.

"We call on all concerned to provide access for the family to Imam Baba Leigh and to treat him fully in accordance with the laws of the Gambia and the accepted norms of international human rights."
One of Baba Leigh's relatives confirmed to AFP on Sunday that the religious leader had not been seen since his arrest.

The European Union has also criticised the cleric's arrest.

Jammeh provoked an international outcry when he announced in August last year that all Gambia's death row inmates would be executed by mid-September. A week later, a first batch of nine were executed by firing squad.

According to rights groups, close to 40 other prisoners faced death but no further executions were reported.

International rights bodies regularly condemn Gambia -- the smallest country on the African mainland -- for rights abuses including arbitrary arrests and detentions of opponents, journalists and rights defenders.

Jammeh, who claims to be able to cure AIDS and other diseases, has ruled the country of 1.8 million people with an iron fist since a coup in 1994.


+7 #4 2013-01-08 18:25
The change in US policy will come and soon Yaya will be gone. The situation right now is that the EU and the UK and EOWAS are all disgusted with Yaya. So, the US really has no choice but to change its policy too because Yaya has really become a monster that no one wants to associate with. Once Obama hears about Yaya, it will be a matter of time before he is disposed.
+10 #3 2013-01-08 17:23
Has the American Ambassador fallen out of bed at last?

Clearly...going by what former deputy Ambassador Knox had to say about US policy in Gambia...and the comments made today by former US lobbyist for the Gambian government in Washington... Mr John Aycott..on Freedom Newspaper today.

The US State Department need to clarify there past, current and future position.

Mr Aycott is making some rather damaging remarks upon its former Ambassador.

Come back PJ Crowley...we need your strength of charecter to guide us out of this uncomfortable quagmire of confusion.
-8 #2 2013-01-08 11:37
which face am i seeing , are u the propriortor of the jollof news ? well done with ur news, in ur aim of destroying the immage of ur country .
+10 #1 2013-01-08 10:28
It is a good news to learn that the US is concerned about the human rights abuses in the Gambia. But was it not this same US that orchestrated and facilitated the coup that brought this horrible regime to power? I will therefore not be that convinced that they are genuinely concerned. The US have every resources to put effective pressures on the regime.

I personally think that it is Gambians who have to stand up for Gambia and Gambia's interest. The US was after its interest when it facilitated the coup and continues to be after its interest as it works with Jammeh when it wants people extradite from the Gambia.

Let Gambians stand up for themselves and for the country individually and collectively to bring this regime to and end. That's the best way out.

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