By Mustapha Jallow
Mr. Madikeh Faal, a resident of Sinchu-Alagi and a former senior official of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is still being held incommunicado for 188 days (today) at the central prison at Mile Two in the outskirts of the capital city of Banjul.
Mr. Faal’s wife, Mrs. Fatou Mboob – Faal, said she has always been denied access by the prison officials to see her husband whenever she makes attempts to visit him, adding that they promised to inform her whenever it is possible for her to do so.
The wife of the former NIA agent explained that the husband did not return home since he left their house on that fateful 17 February 2016 to the mechanic garage for the maintenance of his taxi vehicle.
Explaining the ordeal of her husband, she said it all started on 15 February 2016 when he received a phone call from the NIA director asking him to go to headquarters in Banjul to submit some court documents. She said the husband complied and that after submitting the documents he returned home on that same day. Two days later, she continued, the husband again went to the mechanic to repair his taxi which has a breakdown and it was from there around midday that he was invited again by the previous caller to the NIA, adding that the husband, before leaving for Banjul, came home to inform her about it in the presence of their children. It was in the evening around 10 pm when the mechanic came with the car and asked for him. “I also asked the mechanic about the whereabouts of my husband as I was thinking that my husband was with them,” she disclosed.
In that confused state, the wife explained that she rushed inside the house to reach for her cell phone to call him (husband) immediately. She said she called him and to her surprise all his numbers were inaccessible as the phones are switched off. She explained that it was an agonising and sleepless night for her as whereabouts of her husband are not known. She said in the morning of the following day she went to the NIA head office in Banjul to find out from the director general where her husband is but was told at the reception that he was there but that when she persisted, she was finally told that he was under detention but could not be seen. She said when this information was conveyed to her she requested to see the director general, who the husband said invited her, but was again denied access by those at the reception to see or talk to him.
Mrs. Mboob-Faal disclosed that she and their young children are being agonized and traumatised by the long detention and denial of access to her husband which, she added, is not only affecting them psychologically but economically, as well as, he is the main economic pillar of their family. She further disclosed that his absence has affected them so much so that they have to move out from their home in Sinchu Alagi to her mother’s compound in Latrikunda in order to get support for the sustenance of the young family as she is not working and does not have the means to independently support their upkeep.
Mrs. Mboob – Fall is therefore calling on the authorities who are detaining her husband to release him for the sake of the welfare and education of his young family.
It is reported that before joining the NIA in 2006, Mr. Faal had served the Gambia Armed Forces for twelve (12) years. He served the NIA for eight (8) years before he was arraigned in court in 2013 and subsequently sentenced to serve 10 months in prison. Following his release, he bought a vehicle and started working as a taxi driver to earn income to support his family.
Mr. Faal’s long detention without charge and court appearance is unlawful and contravenes section 19 (c) of the Second Republican Constitution (1997) which states that “Any person who is arrested or detained… who is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court of law and, in any event, within 72 hours.