Gambia drops charges against journos

2012-10-24 11:27

Banjul - Gambian authorities have dropped charges of conspiracy and incitement to violence against two journalists who were arrested on 10 September, the country's press union said on Tuesday.

Baboucarr Ceesay, vice president of the Gambia Press Union and Abubacarr Saidykhan, a freelance journalist, were arrested and held for nearly four days after seeking permission to hold a peaceful protest against the recent execution of nine death row prisoners.

The journalists informed the union that charges had been dropped on Tuesday, according to a statement.

"While acknowledging this positive move by the Gambian authorities, we wish to seize this opportunity to call on the Gambia government to also consider reversing its decision and allow the publishers of the Standard and Daily News newspapers to resume publication," it added.

Shortly after their arrest the two publications were shut down by the nation's feared National Intelligence Agency.

Earlier in August authorities in the tiny west African nation, ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh, closed a local community radio station for refusing to stop reviewing Gambia's private press.

Gambia's media laws have prompted stiff rebukes from rights bodies over repression of press freedom.