(IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the authorities in The Gambia to immediately release journalist Baboucarr Ceesay, who was arrested on Friday 8 March 2013 by officers from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). According to Gambia Press Union (GPU), an IFJ affiliate, journalist Babucarr Ceesay, 1st Vice- President of the Union was arrested by the NIA at his house around 2 pm. No reason was given for his arrest. “We call on authorities in The Gambia to release our colleague immediately and unconditionally. The Gambia must stop these never ending intimidations and harassments of journalists which have portrayed a very negative image for the country throughout the whole world,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.
Baboucar Ceesay had been initially arrested and released in September 2012 with another colleague, Aboubacarr SaidyKhan, in relation to a letter that was written to the Inspector General of police requesting for a permit to demonstrate over the killing of nine death row inmates. The IFJ is deeply concerned that since September, Ceesay has been facing consistent harassment from the security agents and was nearly abducted recently by two men believed to be members of the security agents.
IFJ believes that the journalist has been targeted for long time without any justification and calls on the Government of The Gambia to stop these unwarranted acts of intimidation.
Journalists in The Gambia must be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of expression and of the press as guaranteed by the country’s constitution and other international instruments that the country has signed and ratified, including the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights”, added Baglo.