Resolutions of the Civil Society Emergency Meeting on the Arbitrary and Unlawful Arrest and Detention of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay held on 1st February 2018 at TANGO Head Office, Fajara
Following the arrest and detention of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay of the University of the Gambia by the Gambia Police Force on Wednesday 31st January 2018, TANGO convened an emergency meeting of civil society actors on Thursday 1st February 2018 at its headquarters to discuss the need for a concerted effort on the issue.
Noting that The Gambia Constitution under Section 25 guarantees freedom of Expression, Noting that The Gambia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which guarantee freedom of expression under Article 19 and Article 9 respectively,
Noting that the Gambia emerged from 22 years of dictatorship during which freedom of expression, association and assembly were severely curtailed for which scores of Gambians lost lives and property, Bearing in mind the importance of freedom of expression in the building of democracy and holding the State to account, Concerned with the increasing incidence of abuse of power and disregard of the rule of law by the new Government in its decisions and actions especially in the appointment of enablers of the former dictatorial regime, the incidence of political patronage and corruption, Concerned with growing threats to freedom of expression, association and assembly and particularly acts of intimidation directed towards members of the press,
The meeting heard from Dr. Ismaila Ceesay who narrated his ordeal at the police station. He noted that upon a call from ASP Gaye to report to the police headquarters on Wednesday January 31st he ended up being detained for hours and then charged with incitement to violence the same day at night. Dr. Ceesay was informed the next day that the charges were going to be dropped.
During his detention Dr. Ceesay was told that the order for his arrest and charges came from ‘Above’. He was
interrogated by a group of security officers one who identified himself as ASP Darboe from the Office of the President and then charged by Station Officer Jawara. Following the charges, the police pleaded with him to go home but Dr. Ceesay refused to go until he was informed for the reasons for his arrest. At one point the paramilitary were called to forcefully remove him to no avail. Dr. Ceesay finally left the police station upon arrival of his lawyer who was assured that charges would be dropped.