Monday, November 25, 2013

Newspaper employee detained for 'insulting' President Jammeh

Mass Kah, a messenger at the privately-owned Foroyaa newspaper was on November 14, 2013, arrested by police over allegations of denigrating and insulting Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.
The MFWA’s sources in the country reported Kah was having a discussion with a friend infront of his home in Serekunda when two supporters of President Jammeh confronted him about his comments and reported him to the police.
In the said discussion, Kah reportedly said Halifa Sallah, who is the leader of the opposition People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, was “the only man who wears trousers in The Gambia".  According to MFWA’s sources the statement was understood as meaning Sallah was more capable of leading the country than President Jammeh. 
He was arrested and detained without any charge at Serekunda police station where he was subjected to fierce interrogations and insults by police officers before being transferred to Kotu police station, about 13 kilometers southwest of the capital, Banjul.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Life Stories Use as a Tool of Advocacy in the Right of Women in Islam

Life stories of women documented on Qiwamah and Wilayan in The Gambia has been used to advocate for the rights of Women in Islam.
The first ever in the Gambia, Qiwamah and Wilayan is Musawah’s initiative to make knowledge and advocacy strategies relating to family laws and practices and women’s rights in Islam more accessible. 
It’s a groundbreaking analysis of family law, based on fieldwork in family courts, and illuminated by insights from distinguished clerics and scholars of Islam, as well as by the experience of human rights and women’s rights activists.
Through this life stories, GAMCOTRAP, a women’s right NGO,   during the weekend gathered women from the Kanifing Municipality on the project “creating awareness and documenting issues on the, life stories of women on Qiwamah and Wilayan in the Gambia”,  implemented in collaboration with the New Field Fund of Tides Foundation that supports the advocacy to reach out to hundreds of women.
This advocacy targets 150 women leaders, women of reproductive age, religious leaders and village heads.  It was a moment filled with emotions as some of the participants reveal some of their stories.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Journalists released after 19 days in detention

After 19 days of prison detention, Managing Editor and Editor of the Independent Observer newspaper Messers, Jonathan Leigh and Bai Bai Sesay were granted bail on November 4, 2013 by a Freetown-Based High Court.
The granting of bail to the journalists followed a series of joint protests and appeals by the MFWA and Sierra Leone Journalists Association (SLAJ) that the two be granted bail and their rights respected.
The two journalists were admitted to bail bonds valued at 500 million Leone (about US$114,000) each. As part of the bail conditions, they were also required to have two sureties one of whom must own a house in the upper class suburb called the Western Area. Additionally, the house owner must also deposit the property title with the Registrar of the court. The two journalists have also been asked to surrender their travelling documents to the authorities.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Detained journalists refused bail again

The Managing Editor and Editor of the privately-owned Independent Observer newspaper Jonathan Leigh and Bai Bai Sesay were on October 29, 2013, again refused bail by a Freetown-based Magistrate Court.

The two journalists who have been charged with 26 counts of seditious and defamatory libel, have spent 13 days in detention since they were arrested on October 18, for publishing an article deemed defamatory to Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma. The case has been adjourned to November 4.
Meanwhile the Sierra Leone Journalists Association (SLAJ) on October 29, embarked on a media blackout to protest the continuous detention of Leigh and Sesay.
According to SLAJ president, Kelvin Lewis, out of the over 40 newspapers published daily, only two were published on that day. The two were the Awareness Times published by the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma, Dr. Sylvia Blyden and the Standard Times published by one Philip Neville.