The Gambia’s Interior Minister is once again publicly clearing his name. In a message, Mai Ahmad Fatty writes that he does not authorise the arrest of any lawyer of the State Intelligence Service or any other person of interest to law enforcement.
Due to public expressions of concerns communicated to me by many of you via social media, I deem it useful to clarify the situation. I did not authorise the arrest of Lawyer M.O Badgie of the SIS or any other person of interest to law enforcement and I was not consulted prior to his arrest. As Minister under this democratic dispensation, I have, as a matter of policy, reinforced the tactical and operational independence of The Gambia Police Force, to perform their statutory duties in accordance with the Police Act and other cognate laws. This is intended to eliminate political interference and undue influence in the professional activities of the Force. As such, I do not grant prior validation to the Police on matters of arrest, detention, investigation or prosecution, or restrained their capacity to do so in the proper exercise of their functions.
I have created a Human Rights Unit attached to the Office of the Minister, to monitor, investigate and recommend for action matters dealing with police misconduct, human rights violations and public complaints against law enforcement. I do not deal with technical matters such as arrests, detention and police prosecution, etc. Although I take full responsibility of the satellite institutions under my Ministry, it would constitute a misconception of the role of a security Minister to include the power of arrest, detention and prosecution. It would be wrong assumption to conclude that the Minister of Interior would be aware of every arrest or detention situation in the country. The Minister should not interfere in such matters.