By Amie Sanneh
We continue with the series ‘2015 in Brief’. In the last edition we dealt with ‘Disappearance without Trace’. We now continue our summation of 2015 with the arrests and detentions beyond the constitutional limit of 72 hours that were reported by Foroyaa.
The position of the Constitution on arrest and detention is quite clear. In the first place there must be reasonable grounds of suspicion that a person has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence before arrest is effect. But this is not all, to prevent impunity to show its ugly face, the Constitution provides under section 19 that a person arrested must either be released or brought before a court within 72 hours. However this provision of the Constitution has been treated with disregard by the executive and many persons were detained beyond the 72 hours limit in the course of 2015.
In fact, a former Human Resource Director of Gamtel/Gamcel, MR SEEDY JAITEH is still been held in detention without trial at the state central prison at Mile Two outside the capital city of Banjul, according to a close source.
According to family sources, Mr Jaiteh was arrested on 27 August, 2014 by members of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) at his residence in Manjai Kunda around mid-night and led to a waiting vehicle with tinted glasses and without a registration number plate that whisked him away. He was initially held at the NIA from where he was later transferred to the state central prison, where he has being held incommunicado at the maximum security wing without access to his loved ones, a source lamented.
A former Director of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDEA), PA HABIB MBYE has been arrested from his home in Tallinding and detained at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul since on Sunday, 20 December, 2015 at around 10 pm.
A source says he has been denied access to his family.
In the next edition we will deal with detainees who detained beyond 72 hours but released in the course of 2015.
By 31 December 2015, IMAM SHEIKH OMAR COLLEY, the imam at a mosque in Jabang-Borehole in the Kombo South District had been in detention for 77 days without trial.
His detention started when he received a phone directing him to report to the nearest Police station on Thursday, 15 October, 2015. He reported at Old Yundum Police Station immediately where he was detained overnight before being picked up by unnamed security agents who headed towards Banjul, on Friday 16 October, where was detained.
Now the NIA is saying he is no longer with them.
IMAM CHERNO GASSAMA of Darsilami Mosque in the Lower Fulladu West District, Central River Region is currently detained at the Janjanbureh Central Prison, a reliable source reveals.
According to sources, Imam Gassama was arrested since on Monday, 2 November, 2015 at his residence in Darsilami by personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) accompanied by a police officer from Brikamaba Police Station.
Close family sources have confirmed to Foroyaa that IMAM OUSMAN SAWANEH of the Kanifing South Mosque is still being detained at the remote Janjangbureh prison without access to his family for 75 days today.
His son indicated that, that they made several unsuccessful attempts to have access to him as the prison officers would not allow them to see him.
Imam Sawaneh was picked up by unidentified men in civilian clothes around 10 am on Sunday, 18 October, 2015, while leading a team of workers to clear the grass in the Kanifing South Cemetery.
His whereabouts were not initially known by the family but was later traced at the NIA headquarters in Banjul.
A family source disclosed that the Imam was later transferred to Janjanbureh Prison in the Central River Region (CRR) since the 27th October, 2015 where he is still held without access to his family.