Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Amnesty International: Exiled Gambian journalist at risk of forced disappearance

A Gambian journalist living in exile in Senegal is at risk of a forced disappearance by Gambian security agents, Amnesty International warns.

Yahya Danfa, a journalist with the independent Foroyaa Newspaper in Serrekunda, has lived in self-imposed exile after spending six days in a Gambian prison in October. Since arriving in Senegal, he has complained of receiving threatening phone calls and his family living in Gambia has been harassed by members of the National Intelligence Agency.

Amnesty International expressed worries because Gambian security agents are attending the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Conference, which begins Thursday in Dakar.

Danfa was originally arrested on October 6 in Gambia along with two researchers from Amnesty International after visiting opposition politician Ousman Jatta, affectionally called Rambo, who has been in prison since September 2006.

By most accounts, Gambia has one of the worst track records of press freedom in West Africa. Here is a summary of the Reporters Without Borders 2007 report on Gambia:

Ten journalists arrested, one missing, many others in exile, countless unsolved murders for which supporters of the president are suspected of responsibility or complicity, the memory of a murdered journalist besmirched by the government and a permanent climate of fear: this is the terrible track record of President Yahya Jammeh’s as far as press freedom is concerned.

He's a busy man: On this page is an official list of President Jammeh’s official duties.

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