By Mustapha Jallow
The family of Alhagi Ousman Sawaneh, the Imam of Kanifing South
Mosque, has sued the state for his release from incommunicado
detention at the remote Janjangbureh Prison in the Central River
Region (CRR), where he has been held for 155 days, a source revealed.According to the family source the long detention of their loved one has
affected the entire family members and they have now decided to take
the matter to the high court to seek for his release. The source added
that that there were two proceedings, on 2 and 16 March, 2016, but
that the state failed to appear in court on both occasions. The case
has been adjourned till today 21 March, at 2 pm.
‘‘We want our loved one to be released from prison since the 72 hours
limit has exceeded and he has not been taken to court, we tried
all means to have access to him but we were not allowed to see him where he is presently held in CRR,’’ a family source laments.
Earlier reports have indicated that Imam Sawaneh was detained without
charge or trial at various detention centres ending up at the remote
prison in the CRR.
Family sources say that they are distraught due to the long
incommunicado detention of their husband and father. They say they do
not know what the Imam has done to warrant his long detention.
Family members have expressed their concern over the state of his
health and psychological condition as they do not know under what
condition he is being held in prison.
According to the family, 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 to the family
but he was later traced to the NIA headquarters in Banjul. He was
later transferred to Janjangbureh Prison in the Central River Region
(CRR) on the 27th October, 2015.
Detaining a person for 155 days is inconsistent with section 19 of the
1997 Constitution of the Second Republic of the Gambia 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
By Mustapha Jallow