Breaking News:Fatou Jaw Manneh’s Libel case reaches high court!Court hears bail application today!

Justice Secretary
Kebba Sanyang

By Justice Sam, Senior Staff Writer

The High Court in Banjul will today hear a bail application filed by Lawyer Lamin Jobarteh to secure the release of the detained US based Gambian Journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Ms.Manneh has been charged with Libel and defamation, an offence which carries a minimum of six months imprisonment or maximum of  three year jail term if convicted. Court indictments issued by the state accuses the journalist of publishing “seditious” materials against the commander-in-chief Yahya Jammeh and his government over the years. The government sealed indictment against the journalist, which is yet to be released in court according to NIA insiders also accuses Fatou Jaw Manneh of trying to incite the “inhabitants of the Gambian population, by publishing derogatory languages against the Head of state.” Ever since her arrest last week, Ms.Manneh has been placed under tight security by the country’s feared National Intelligence Agency, the (NIA). Libel is an old law in the Gambia, which  is often used by the Jammeh government to crackdown on critics and political opponents. Prominent Gambian politician Lamin Waa Juwara was handed with six months jail term by Justice Paul after he was found guilty on libel charges.

Lawyer Jobarteh a former police chief, cum Intelligent agent has formally accepted to represent Fatou Jaw Manneh. Jobarteh will this morning argue in court the ‘illegality” of Fatou Jaw Manneh’s continued detention by the state.Under the Gambian constitution, people accused of committing felony, should be charged and brought before a court of law  within 72 hours or be released pending the establishment of a primafacie case against such accused person(s). Already, The Gambian authorities have flouted the said provision of the constitution.

Insiders at the state law office in Banjul told the Freedom Newspaper, that the state in an affidavit had opposed the bail application filed by Lawyer Lamin Jobarteh. According to the AG Chambers insiders who happens to be trained lawyers, the government claims that investigations into Fatou Jaw Manneh’s case was still underway, even though she has been charged with Libel. “SOS Sanyang has been emphasizing the need to oppose the bail application. He said the orders he received  from the President was to oppose bail  for now. We have no choice but to go to court and oppose bail. The offence is bailable though, but our hands are tide.”said a government lawyer  at the AG Chambers.

According to the lawyer, the SOS’S office was being stormed by NIA and police officers who briefed him on their daily interrogation reports about Fatou Jaw Manneh’s case.”This case will take a national dimension. The state’s intention is to jail Fatou Jaw Manneh and they are working very hard to execute their mission. There are a lot of exhibits attached to the case file. This I can tell you. I will try to send the exhibits via email if I lay my hands on them. I have access to the Minister’s office. The world needs to know the sinister plans being hatched against Fatou Jaw Manneh, including your very paper the Freedom Newspaper. The government has already criminalised the lady based on the indictments I read at the Minister’s office today.”said an insider at the AG Chambers.

Fatou Jaw Manneh has been known as a critic of President Jammeh. The woman has never minces her opposition against  the government of the day. This paper gathered that the detainee was being secretly videotaped by the NIA, during interrogation sessions. The NIA also recorded her voice which according to the agency insiders was forwarded to the President including the video tapes. President Jammeh continued our sources , has been privy to  all the interrogations that took place at the NIA in the case of Fatou Jaw Manneh. The woman was also photographed on arrival at the airport by the NIA agents who were assigned to arrest her, said our sources.

The Freedom Newspaper shall keep you posted on Fatou Jaw Manneh’s case as things unfold. Stay tuned.

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Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, April 25, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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