By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Almost 30 Gambian Civil Society Organisations have signed a press release demanding an apology for the arrest of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay and promise further legal action against Gambia’s Inspector General of Police. Earlier today the office of the IGP issued a press release stating that “it wishes to make it clear that it will carry out its functions whenever it has reasonable belief of any circumstances that would amount to a threat to national security.” The same press release states that “Dr. Ceesay has been released unconditionally.” Both press releases from the office of the IGP and Gambian CSOs are reproduced below.
According to the CSO Press Release “Dr. Ismaila Ceesay — 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.”
According to Dr. Cessay’s narration, the “order for his arrest and charges came from ‘Above’.” 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.” The situation got heated when “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.”
Below are the 11 action points that some 27 Civil Society Organisations have agreed to pursue.
“1. To Issue a press statement to condemn the arrest and detention of Dr. Ceesay,
2. To stage a peaceful protest to defend human rights and democracy in the New Gambia,
3. To seek a meeting with the IGP to discuss the need for the protection of human rights,
4. To demand that the IGP offer a public apology to Dr. Ceesay,
5. To hold a press conference to further popularize these issues with the general public,
6. To sue the IGP for unlawful arrest and detention contrary to Section 19 subsection 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia 1997,
7. To urge all Gambian media to report on issues of human rights extensively in line with ECOWAS Human Rights indicators,
8. To petition all international development partners and foreign missions on the state of freedom of expression, association and assembly in the Gambia,
9. To seek an audience with the President of the Republic to express civil society concerns and demands for effective and accountable leadership, promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights and adherence to the rule of law,
10. To seek engagement with the National Assembly to ensure the repeal of anti-democratic laws and the creation of human rights friendly laws,
11. To demand that all officers responsible for the arbitrary and unlawful arrest and detention of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay and any infringements on the rights of citizens to be held to account.”