Stop Press:Sheriff Bojang JR. Deported! Briefly Detained By The NIA …
UK Deports Gambian Journalist

NIA Questions Deportee Sheriff Bojang Jr. On Arrival

UK GPU Secretary General AB Sowe “Shocked” By The British Move!

The Staff and Management of the Freedom Newspaper wish to announce with regrets, that despite all efforts to stop the British government sending a journalist back to a country, where persecution  is imminent  proved futile.  Journalist Sheriff Bojang  has finally been sent to the Gambia, through Brussels via Dakar to Banjul. Sheriff arrived in Banjul Sunday evening, where he was briefly detained at the airport by the National Intelligence Agency, the NIA  and released to go home. Alieu Badara Sowe Secretary General of the Gambia Press Union United Kingdom Branch when contacted described the matter as “appalling.” According to Sowe the United kingdom is signatory to the European Convention of human rights and also a signatory to the International Covenant for the protection of people running away from persecution under the United Nations Convention of the protection of refugees.” Mr.Sowe explained that he is absolutely disappointed that the British government has negated its responsibility to protect people fleeing persecution from  despotic regimes like that of the Gambia.

Sheriff was one of the journalists who went to submit a petition to the British Prime Minister Tonny Blair regarding the assassination of a prominent Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara. “With this belief that  a country like Britain that is a beacon of democracy and human rights would send anybody  to a country, where the torture of journalists is the order of the day.Mr.Sowe lamented.
The Freedom Newspaper has been reliably informed that Sheriff Bojang was asked to report to the NIA offices today for further questioning. His fate has not yet been decided. Mr.Bojang  is a relative of Chief Santang Bojang of Brikama. It’s gathered that some elders of Brikama have launched an appeal on his behalf to save him from being harmed by the Jammeh government. Since the news of his deportation, panic and anxiety continues to grip his family. Mr.Bojang has been a fierce critic of the President over the years.

Prior to his deportation, sources say Bojang was given a voluntary departure to leave the United Kingdom by the UK Immigration authourities-meaning that he was given the option to leave UK or risked being forcefully deported. But due to fear of persecution upon his return to the Gambia, Bojang decided not to leave  London. His dream sanctuary land UK, have decided to send him home, the Gambia. UK Immigration officials ran into his apartment last week, where he was arrested and placed under removal proceedings. He was accused of violating the UK Immigration laws.

The Freedom Newspaper investigations revealed that there are other Gambians lined up to be deported from the UK. UK, sources revealed off late had been denying asylum related cases emanating from tiny Gambia. Since the return of deposed former Gambian President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, who was granted “blanket amnesty” by the Jammeh government together with his family, winning an asylum in the UK is hard to come by. Mr.Bojang, we are told was the second Gambian journalist “given voluntary” departure by the British authourities in a span of two years. Sources said the British Home office had not been entertaining some of the asylum claims from the Gambia.

Journalists in the Gambia are faced with daily harassment, torture and in some instances forced exile. Former Point Managing Editor/Co proprietor Deyda Hydara was murdered in cold blood by agents believed to be acting under the directive of the Gambian government. Since his death, the government has been making up stories in a bid to smear the image of the leading journalist, whose paper helped to expose the brutal nature of the repressive Jammeh government.

The Gambian community in the United Kingdom have been devastated by Bojang’s forced deportation. Bojang was described as ” friendly, reserved,dedicated and ambitious young man.”  To many, Bojang was a “genuine asylee who happens to be a  victim of  miscarriage of justice.” The British asylum office however, refuses to entertain his claims of persecution. Three UK state Immigration lawyers were said to have handled his deportation proceedings. Efforts to file an injunction to stay his deportation failed into deaft ears, as the British government had finally decided to send the journalist out of their country. Bojang is today a guest in the Gambia, a country he never wanted to step his foot as long as President Jammeh continues to rule that country. He was welcomed by the feared NIA, who asked him to report to their offices today. We shall keep you posted with developments as they unfold. Stay tuned…

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Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 (Archive on Monday, April 30, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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