2009: Gambia: Six journalists

13th August 2009

President and Minister of Defence
Captain (retd) Alhaji Yaha A.J.J. Jammeh

Your Excellency

The non-political association of writers, PEN International, strongly protests the jailing of six journalists, charged with “criminal defamation” and convicted to two years in prison and heavy fines, and further time in prison unless the fines are being paid. Their “crime” seems to be criticism of Your Excellency, an act which according to international conventions regarding the right to freedom of expression, is fully acceptable and legal. The Gambian Constitution also guarantees its citizen freedom of expression.

We call for the immediate release of  Emil Touray, Sarata Jabbi-Diba, Pa Modou Fall, Pap Saine, Ebrima Sawaneh and Sam Sarr. And we particularly ask that Pap Saine is given qualified medical aid for his heart condition.

Your Excellency, we trust that you will look into this case and make sure that national and international laws and standards are being observed.

Thanking you in advance
Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
member, Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN

Sent by e-mail with e-mail copy to Attorney General and Secretary of State of Justice, Mrs Marie Saine Firdas