Support Freedom of Speech in The Gambia

  • by:
  • recipient: Elizabeth Ya Eli Harding, High Commissioner, The Gambia High Commission
The Gambia is developing a reputation for ruthless suppression of dissent. This month, Gambian courts charged five Gambian activists with treason, a crime punishable by death.

Their crime? Distributing t-shirts that questioned President Yahya Jammeh.

This is by no means the first time something like this has happened in The Gambia. In 2004, an unknown gunman shot Deyda Hydara, editor-in-chief of The Point. Another journalist, Chief Ebrina Manneh, disappeared two years later after the Gambian National Intelligence Agency. In 2009, further critiques of the president led to the arrest of six journalists, all of whom were charged with sedition.

Sign this petition to pressure The Gambia's High Commissioner to release all imprisoned journalists and activists.
I am writing out of deep concern for the five Gambian activists who were arrested this month in connection with distributing T-shirts that called for an end to President Yahya Jammeh's dictatorship in The Gambia.

These journalists were doing nothing more than exercising the universally recognized right of personal expression. Such detention, not to mention various documented cases of forced disappearance, evidence admitted under torture, and outright government-sanctioned murder, is highly detrimental to The Gambia's desire to development into a modern nation.

The Gambia has a poor history of attention to human rights, especially when it comes to freedom of the press. Currently a number of brave activists and journalists are in prison for simply and peacefully expressing their perspectives.

I urge you to pressure President Jammeh to stop impeding the freedom of speech that the Gambian people deserve. Release these political prisoners back to their families immediately.
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