By Justice Sam, Senior Staff Writer


Fye helping                 DC Embassy must     SOS Gaye happy with   Speaker FJC
NIAS In their              be rejoicing???           Fatou’s arrest!               happy!
investigations

Former Agriculture Minister in the first Republic Omar Amadou Jallow and NADD’S Halifa Sallah, have been busy trying to help secure the services of a lawyer for the detained US based Gambian journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh, who is charged with Libel and defamation of character  by the Jammeh administration, well placed sources told the Freedom Newspaper. The offence in question carries a minimum of six months imprisonment or 2 years jail term if convicted. Concerned by  the current state of affairs, Fatou had found herself, OJ Jallow took it upon himself to ensure that the journalist was represented in court. Jallow has since been talking to a Gambian lawyer Lamin Jobarteh, who  agreed to handle Fatou Jaw Manneh’s case. Jobarteh who just returned from a provincial trip is posed to file a bail application on behalf of Fatou Jaw Manneh Monday. Ms.Fatou Jaw Manneh has been in custody for more than 72 hours, which according to legal luminaries was a direct contravention to the country’s constitution.

Mr.Jallow who returned into this country recently, was admitted at a London hospital  after a brief illness. Well placed sources say both  Sallah and OJ have been concerned about the journalist’s plight. According to informed sources, some concerned Gambians within and outside the country are also working on raising a defense fund for Fatou Jaw Manneh should the government go ahead to drag her to court. Ms.Fatou Jaw Manneh who is held at the NIA headquarters is reported to be in good health condition, as we file this report. She was made to sign a cautionary statement, which informed her about the indictments  brought against her by the state.

Leaks from the NIA say the journalist was likely to be arraigned before a magistrate court soon.  The government according to our sources has accused Fatou Jaw Manneh of framing the President Jammeh over the years.” The charge sheet also accuses Ms.Manneh of “misinformation” and also trying to incite hatred and violence against the commander-in-chief President Yahya Jammeh.

In a bid to further indict the journalist, said our NIA sources, the government had also attached “documentary evidence” to  further beef up the charge sheet, which was forwarded to the Attorney General Kebba Sanyang for legal opinion. Mr.Sanyang a former magistrate has since advised the Gambian police to go ahead with the Libel and defamation charges against Ms.Manneh. Fatou’s past interviews with the Independent  and the Freedom Newspaper  were among the state’s exhibits, it intends to present in court, said an insider at the NIA.

Fatou Jaw Manneh’s arrest and detention was facilitated by APRC socalled loyalists in Washington DC, this paper was informed. NIA arresting officials  say they received orders from the President to arrest the journalist come what may. Fatou’s trial said the NIA insiders, would take a political angle, as the President himself had a special interest about the outcome  of the said case.This paper was told that the President had vowed to set a drastic example against  his critics overseas. It’s not clear what example Mr.Jammeh wants to set, but what is evident is that the arrest of Fatou Jaw Manneh is a subject of discussion at the state house and Kanilai.

Meanwhile, the likes Fatou Jahumpa Ceesay, Neneh Macdowl Gaye, Saja Taal and Omar Fye have been rejoicing over Fatou Jaw Manneh’s arrest. NIA insiders say the named officials have been voluntarily supplying them information about Fatou Jaw Manneh’s supposedly “past activities against the government of the day.” Omar Fye, in particular was said to be one of those briefing the NIA about asylum related cases, since he Fye was an asylee prior to his defection to the APRC. Fye has been talking to the agency since the arrest of Fatou, sources said.

At the time of going to press Fatou Jaw Manneh, was being watched at the NIA by her captives. Fatou has denied defaming the President despite the ongoing moves to solicit confession from her. International media watch dogs such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Paris based Reporters without borders have called for her immediate release. The government is yet to publicly comment on Fatou’s arrest.

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Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, April 18, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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