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Ebrima Manneh, Gambia, jailed since July 2006

Ebrima Manneh, Gambia, jailed since July 2006

Article ID:

17631

Day 10
Country: Gambia
Journalist: “Chief” Ebrima Manneh
Media: Daily Observer
Jailed since: July 7, 2006

Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calls on President Yahya Jammeh to release “Chief” Ebrima Manneh and guarantee press freedom in #Gambia bit.ly/1jBN90m


For almost eight years, the whereabouts of Gambian reporter “Chief” Ebrima Manneh from pro-government Daily Observer newspaper have been unknown. On July 7, 2006, his family said he left for work as normal, but never returned home. Witnesses said two plainclothes state security agents arrested Manneh at his office in Bakau. Reports of what happened next are poles apart, from suggesting the journalist has died, is still in the Gambia, to that he is now living in the United States.

Share our protest letter for Ebrima Manneh bit.ly/1oZu7Xc

While Manneh’s case is shrouded with mystery, some of his colleagues say his arrest could have resulted from allegedly downloading an article from the website of the BBC that was critical of President Yahya Jammeh. The article was part of the BBC's coverage of the summer 2006 African Union summit, held in the Gambia, which was apparently critical of most African heads of state, including its host President Jammeh. The government has provided a scant account of what happened to Manneh after his arrest, while other witnesses and even some authorities and senior police officers have offered conflicting information.

Some witnesses said they saw Manneh in government custody in December 2006 and in July 2007, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists. But then in March 2011, the President suggested that Manneh died – outside of the hands of the government – only to be followed by Justice Minister Edward Gomez, just months after the President's comments, saying in an interview that Chief Manneh was still alive.

Manneh's case – as well as the 2004 murder of editor-in-chief Deyda Hydara of The Point – have shown Gambian media that crticism will not be tolerated. During Jammeh’s twenty-year rule press freedom has had barely any place in Gambian society. The government's tight grip has resulted in a nearly moribund independent press and censorship is widespread. Shortly after Jammeh’s re-election in 2011, he reportedly said: “The journalists are less than 1% of the population, and if anybody expects me to allow less than 1% of the population to destroy 99% of the population, you are in the wrong place.”

Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calls on President Yahya Jammeh to release “Chief” Ebrima Manneh and guarantee press freedom in #Gambia bit.ly/1jBN90m


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wm_WanIfra

Date

2014-04-13 10:43

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Andrew Heslop

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2014-04-03 20:08