The following statement was issued by the University of The Gambia Faculty and Staff Association:

Following the arbitrary arrest of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, Political Science lecturer UTG and President of the University of the Gambia Faculty and Staff Association (UTGFSA), over an article published in a local newspaper, the entire UTG community under the umbrella of the UTGFSA strongly condemn the said arrest as a blatant affront on his civic right and a threat to academic and freedom of expression in the country. The change that Gambians envisaged in December 2016, is a nation where citizens can express their opinion on national issues such as development, education, security, and democracy without fear of harassment from anyone. The Gambian people did not sacrifice their lives for a change of face in the December 2016 Presidential Election but a change that guarantees all and sundry to enjoy their rights and liberty in their country with dignity. Therefore, the arrest of our colleague, Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, is a violation of his constitutional right to freedom of expression and an attempt of provocation on the resolve of UTGFASA to protect its members’ rights at all costs. As academics and citizens of the Gambia, we will not sit by and watch the security personnel or anybody else trample on our rights with impunity. We therefore demand the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Ceesay.

If the authorities fail to unconditionally release Dr. Ceesay, the UTGFSA executive hereby calls on all her members to sit at home and refrain from taking part in all university functions and activities including orientation ceremonies starting from Thursday 1st February, 2017. However, the UTGFSA executive will use all available means to secure Dr. Ceesay’s release. The executive shall inform members through the UTG platform as to what our next move is.

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