The Coordinator of the pro-democracy group Coalition for Change -The Gambia (CCG) was released on Friday from gendarmerie custody after being arrested for being in possession of T-shirts bearing the slogan “Jammeh Must Go”. Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh was a former Gambian Minister of Communication.
“He was held overnight at Karang Gendarmerie Border Post. I just spoke to him and he confirmed his release by the gendarmerie,” the Dakar-based Amnesty International West Africa Team Campaigner Francois Patuel told this reporter
The arrest of Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh comes in the wake of a campaign launched this week in Dakar by Gambian dissidents who issued a damning statement about ‘Gambia Government’s continued violations of human rights and its disregard of the country’s international obligations.’A former information minister, Dr Janneh was arrested in 2011 by the Jammeh regime for distributing printing and distributing T-shirts with the slogan “End Dictatorship Now, Coalition for Change – The Gambia” and sentenced by a Gambian court to life imprisonment. He was subsequently freed through the intercession of Rev. Jesse Jackson Snr. Since then, he has been on the front line constantly pushing for democracy and rule of law to prevail in Gambia.
The Director of Amnesty International Senegal Seydi Gassama said his organization ‘strongly condemned’ the arrest and urged Senegalese authorities to stop “this kind of harassment.”
“To Distribute T-shirts is not an offense under Senegalese law. As long as people are not advocating violence, they should be free to express their opinion.”
While some observers are interpreting the incident as a ‘worrying development’, Amnesty International’s Seydi Gassama assured that he does not think that it is a deliberate policy by the authorities to harass Gambian dissidents in Senegal.
When contacted to shed light on the reasons that have prompted the arrest of Dr. Janneh, Adjutant officer of Mbaye Karang Gendarmerie Border Post referred us to his direct hierarchical superior. “I cannot comment on this issue,” he added.
Over these past twenty years, Senegal has been receiving an immigration flow of Gambian refugees fleeing persecution. Many of them continue to campaign for the ‘restoration of a democratic regime’ in the tiny West African State.