Police in Tujereng released a youth activist of the main opposition United Democratic Party from unlawful detention.
Amadou Jallow, who has had his phone seized, was detained after his arrest on Sunday. The police had earlier stormed the Sunday youth re-organising and engagement tour of the party in Bato Kunku wanting to know what was going on. The youths said they were holding a legitimate meeting and asked police to wait until the meeting was over. The police waited for few minutes before sneaking their way out. The police came back to arrest Amadou Jallow whose compound was used for the meeting. .
The party’s youth committee who are on a wide range of reach out tour of the Kombos have visited over six major villages in Kombo. The trouble spot for the UDP has been Madiana and Tujereng where the party’s youth Secretary, Ebrima Solo Sandeng and 14 youth wing leaders were arrested and persecuted. The station officer at Tujereng, Hassan Bahoum, spearheaded both persecutions.
Amadou Jallow, who chaired the Bato Kunku meeting, is a sole trader who works hard to make ends meet for his family in the Gambia’s tough economic climate.
The UDP leadership had earlier called on Tujereng police to release Mr. Jallow immediately and without strings attached because he had not committed any crime. The party also warned Hassan Bahoum to desist from politically motivated harassment of UDP members in Kombo.
Jallow’s arrest followed the acquittal of 14 UDP youths on all charges of unlawful assembly by Brikama Magistrate’s Courts. Principal Magistrate Dayoh Dago Small ruled that “all the 14 accused persons have no case to answer.” His ruling was based on the premise that everyone in the Gambia has fundamental rights to freedom of association and assembly. He said no one needed a permit to hold meetings on a private property and that it was not necessary to inform the village Alkalo of their intention to hold such a meeting.
Magistrate Small lambasted Mr. Bahoum for interfering with legitimate political gatherings of the opposition. However, UDP leaders would not understand why Bahoum would do the same barely a month after the court ruling.
“We are calling for Amadou Jallow’s unconditional release, as there is precedence in which two legal rulings stipulating that holding political meetings with party members in private locations isagainst the law,” reacted the UDP Youth Secretary. Ebrima Solo Sandeng condemned the “unlawful behaviours of Tujeren police,” wondering why Tujeren police have become notorious in legitimate gatherings of the UDP youths. “We can’ understand why Tujeren has over and over become the problem. We are Gambians with full entitlement to operate our political party activities within the law; we will not therefore accept unlawful police interference into our activities,” Mr. Sandeng said, describing Mr. Amadou Jallow as “a hardworking man who looks after his family with his daily trade. His detention will seriously hamper his trade.”
Solo Sandeng as can be recalled was detain for 21 days without charge and went through trials in Brikama Magistrate court, only to be acquitted. “It seems there is a concerted effort to frustrate Gambian youths in getting enlightened and involved in politics,” Mr. Sandeng said. “The UDP will continue to reach out to the youths, organising its members and making them aware that, the task at hand is for Gambian youths to stand up and be involve politically. We the youths cannot keep fleeing the country, risking our lives through the desert and high seas to Europe, we have to make the Gambia a conducive environment to earn a decent living standard.”
The UDP leader questioned why Tujeren station officer continues to flout the court’s ruling. “We request the release of Amadou Jallow now,” party leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe said. Mr. Darboe called on the party’s militants worldwide to lend their hand of support to the Jallow family. “The police are meant to uphold the law, they are not to be involved in instigating political unrest. Arresting decent peace loving citizens is creating bitter co-existence and we want Hassan Bahoum to be careful of his actions,” Mr. Darboe said.