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The Gambia: "Disappeared" Journalist Spotted at Local Hospital

1 August 2007 at 08:14 | 1906 views

A journalist who has been missing for more than a year was spotted at
Gambia’s main hospital, reports Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA),
who has focused a campaign on the case.

"Chief" Ebrima Manneh, a reporter with the pro-government newspaper "Daily
Observer", was seen on 26 July at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in
Banjul, where he was getting treatment for high blood pressure. He was then
transferred to a military clinic nearby.

MFWA reports that in the hospital, he was in the company of personnel of
the Police Intervention Unit, a paramilitary wing of the Gambian police
force.

Manneh has been held incommunicado without charge or trial since July 2006
after allegedly passing on "damaging" information to a foreign journalist
at the African Union Heads of State summit a week prior. According to MFWA,
Manneh’s colleagues witnessed his arrest by two plainclothes officers of
the National Intelligence Agency, although the security force has
repeatedly denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. Manneh is believed to
have been detained in Mile Two Central Prison in Banjul’s outskirts, after
being moved from one detention centre to another in many of Gambia’s police
stations.

MFWA recently filed a lawsuit against the government at the Community Court
of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanding
Manneh’s release and compensation for the time he has spent in detention. A
government representative failed to appear at a 16 July preliminary
hearing. The next court date is scheduled for 26 September.

Source: IFEX.

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