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Wednesday, 09 January 2013 21:47(Press Release) – The management and staff of JollofNews Online strongly condemn the arrest and detention of our Banjul Editor, Abdoulie John, by officers of The Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Mr John who is also Banjul correspondent for the Associated Press (AP) was detained Monday after he reported to the NIA headquarters in Banjul; a routine exercise since his initial arrest on December 9, 2012. He was on police bail and required to be reporting weekly. As we go to press, Mr. John remains in NIA custody under very unclear circumstances, and to date, he has never been charged of any crime.
Family members, colleagues and friends have all been denied access to him.
Mr John’s trouble with the NIA started on 9 December 2012 over an argument with State House photographer, Sulayman Gassama. He was later reported to the NIA Director, who ordered for his immediate arrest. Once arrested, John was then taken to Sibanor police station in Foni before being transferred to the NIA headquarters in Banjul, where he spent the night. He was released the following day after his ordeal was widely reported both locally and internationally especially by Gambia’s Diasporan online media.
Realising that they have nothing to charge Mr John with, the NIA in a desperate move decided focus attention on the activities of the journalist. They requested for his personal laptop and mobile phones to apparently access his emails and telephone records.
The management of JollofNews is concerned at the continuous harassment and persecution of Mr John. His laptop and phone have nothing to do with the events he was arrested for and by wanting to access his computer hard drive we are convinced that the NIA is on a fishing expedition and is abusing its powers.
The management of JollofNews is deeply worried about Mr. Abdoulie John’s safety in the hands of the NIA and hold President Yahya Jammeh and his government entirely responsible for anything that may happen to our diligent and brave reporter.
We therefore call on the Government to immediately and unconditionally release Abdoulie John. We also demand that the Gambia Government guarantee his safety and wellbeing.
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