The Democratic Union of Gambian Activists -DUGA condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, political commentator and senior political science lecturer, University of The Gambia. Dr. Ceesay was arrested January 31, 2018 on the background of a local news story in which he alleged that the “presence of the regional forces (ECOMIG) in the country will not prevent long term security risk if the president does not win the trust of the army.”
Currently, we are aware that he is being detained at the Serious Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force pending a charge for “inciting violence.” The Gambia’s constitution protects the right and freedom of speech and expression of political dissent. We hereby put the Barrow administration on notice and strongly demand the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Ceesay.
On December 1, 2016, Gambians went to polls to banish a 22-year tyranny and elected a new government with the hope that their fundamental rights and freedoms will be guaranteed. Let the Barrow government be reminded that those days are gone when citizens will sit by and allow the president and his state security apparatus to use draconian laws as political tools to silence and harass critics and activists for freely expressing opinion of public interests. We hope the new administration will get to work and repeal or amend all bad laws that are used by the Jammeh regime to criminalize peaceful expression of opinion.
Lastly, DUGA calls on all honorable University lecturers, students, journalists, and activists to show solidarity to Dr. Ceesay and demand the government immediately stop the blatant infringement on public freedoms, freedom of opinion and expression.
The Democratic Union of Gambian Activists -DUGA