By Abdoulie John
The Gambia is facing mounting pressure to release remanded radio journalist. Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the Manager of Teranga FM, has been standing trial on sedition and false publication charges stemming from his alleged sharing of photo of President Yahya Jammeh being gun pointed on social media.
“Gambian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay,” the Secretary General of the Dakar-based human rights watchdog RADDHO told this reporter. Aboubacry Mbodji plans to use the World Radio Day platform to draw people’s attention to the ordeal of Taranga FM Manager. He spent more 200 days in state custody.
State sponsored repression has forced majority of Gambian radio stations to play music throughout, prompting many people to listen to turn to diaspora online radios for news and current affairs on their country.
Mr. Ceesay has been repeatedly denied bail, despite several attempts by his lawyers who had their hopes dashed last Monday after a judge ruled out their application. It is incomprehensible to understand why Alagie is still being held when his case tanks, as the prosecution’s star witnesses are out of jurisdiction.
“We are extremely concerned at the way his health condition has been deteriorating,” echoed Mr. Mbodji. “We know Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay has been on Gambia govt radars for using the airwaves to promote democracy and freedom of expression. His case is being adjourned with high frequency. The last ruling shows that we cannot expect justice from court.”
The Gambia Press Union has added its voice to the chorus of recriminations, with its officials expressing disappointment about the court’s rejection of Mr. Ceesay’s bail application.
Gambians have never known peace and stability since a group of rag-tag soldiers overthrew the democratically elected government of Dawda Jawara in July 1994. The Gambia’s jealously guarded democracy has been replaced by a self-styled dictatorship that deprives citizens of their citizenship rights.