(JollofNews) – A detained Gambian journalist who was reported to have been murdered over the weekend together with an opposition activist by the Gambian regime is alive.
Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, managing director of Teranga FM, is said to be alive but in hospital. He has been diagnosed with an enlarged liver at the beginning of the year and has been in and out for hospital ever since.
Mr Ceesay’s death was reported late last week along with the United Democratic Party (UDP) member Solo Sandeng, who died in detention, according to his party.
Rumours of Ceesay’s death were squashed by the country’s press union.
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) said is alive but critical in hospital and is being denied visits for over a week.
The press union have expressed concern about Ceesay’s deteriorating health.
“Our colleague was kept in incommunicado detention for twenty-nine days before he was arraigned in September, 2015, charged with sedition and false news,” Emil Touray, president of the GPU said in a letter to the Gambia’s minister of Justice, Mama Fatima Singhateh
According to the letter, the journalist was hospitalised on 11th April at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul and he was returned to prison that evening regardless of the “critical” state of his health.
“Two days later, he was rushed again for treatment at the EFSTH where he’s still receiving treatment,” the GPU president said
The union also asked the minister to drop the charges against Ceesay and “enable him reunite with his family and regain his health”.
Mr Ceesay was arrested on 2nd July 2 015 by the National Intelligence Agency after he privately shared by phone a picture in which a gun was pointed toward a photograph of President Yahya Jammeh. The image had been circulating on the internet, and Mr Ceesay was not its author. His radio station, Teranga FM, had been closed down several times over the past years.
During his detention Mr Ceesay has been held ‘incommunicado’ for two periods by members of the Gambian security forces. He was held in an unknown location from July 2 to July 13, then released.
He was rearrested on 17th July and detained at the National Intelligence Agency headquarters, which is not an official place of detention, without access to a lawyer or his family. He was taken before the High Court on August 25 and charged with six counts of sedition under Section 52 of the Gambian Criminal Code and publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm among the public. He is currently held at Mile 2 prison on the outskirts of the capital, Banjul. In February this year, he was denied bail for the fourth time.