Gambia jails opposition leader for sedition

2013-12-19 11:43
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Banjul - Gambia jailed a leading opposition politician on Wednesday for sedition after he helped two supporters planning to flee to Finland, according to an AFP correspondent present at the trial.

Judge Emmanuel Nkea handed United Democratic Party treasurer Amadou Sanneh a five-year sentence for writing an open letter backing the activists, who intended to seek asylum in the northern European country.

Sanneh's letter on UDP-headed paper said the pair, who were also jailed for five years, risked being killed if they stayed in The Gambia, the court in Banjul was told.

All three were convicted of conspiring to commit an act "with seditious intention" while Sanneh was also found guilty of "intent to bring hatred or contempt or excite dissatisfaction against the person of the president of the republic of The Gambia".

A sliver of land nestled within Senegal with a narrow strip of Atlantic coast, the Gambia is ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh, a military dictator and former wrestler who took power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and is accused of flouting human rights.

The country introduced new laws in April criminalising male prostitution, cross-dressing and the singing of abusive songs in public.

Media laws describing crimes of sedition, slander and publication of false information implemented in 2004 are so restrictive that an article, cartoon or even gesture seen as insulting to Jammeh can land a person in jail.

Read more on:    yahya jammeh  |  gambia  |  west africa

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