Detention without trial must stop!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
We are very much concerned about the detention of people without trial in the country. We recall news of the arrest and detention of Imam Baba Leigh, which was in the headlines in some of the major newspapers in the country.

Though we are yet to get official confirmation, the Imam Leigh’s family has confirmed that, since last Thursday, they are yet to set eyes on their loved one.

The constitution of the Republic of the Gambia is very clear on this.

What it says is that no one should be detained for more than 72 hours without appearing before a court or be released on bail.

Whatever Imam Leigh was alleged to have done, we believe that he should be brought before a court of law or else be released immediately.

Anything else is a total violation of the Constitution of the Republic.

In our view, it must be emphasized that due process should be followed at all times.

Respecting the human rights of all Gambians, irrespective of their status and political affiliation, is what the rule of law calls for.

Gambians will be happy to see that no one is detained for more than 72 hours without trial.

Those in authority must be seen to uphold and defend the supreme law of the land at all times.

We must also emphasize that there is absolute need for greater tolerance and accommodation of genuine criticism.

The government and its officials must promote divergent views and freedom of expression in the country.

Indeed, this is essential for there to be continuing peace and stability in the country.

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”

Ronald Reagan