An open letter to Yaya Jammeh: Set them free now! All of Gambia's political prisoners
By Fatou Beye Manneh
I write to demand that, in the spirit of respect for human dignity you ensure the release of all the political prisoners held since the 14th of April 2016 until now and those held before that. You have sworn to defend the constitution and sovereignty of The Gambia and therefore you bear legal and moral responsibility to ensure that at all times the supremacy of the constitution remains sacrosanct. The individuals arrested and detained among whom some have lost their lives are Gambian citizens who should enjoy the same rights and freedoms like you Yaya Jammeh and every other citizen as spelt out in our constitution.
In view of the seriousness of the matter, I will suggest you make enquiries under the conditions of which they are tortured and kept in prison contrary to the
standards expected today by all civilized nations. In view of the information available to us concerning the arrest and detention of the peaceful protesters on Thursday the 14th of April one of them Ibrahim Solo Sadeng RIP was killed and buried at Tanji while Fatoumatta Jawara and Fatou Camara are said to be in critical conditions. All of these protesters were severely tortured.
The peaceful protesters are being criminalized and their basic rights seriously violated. We must bear in mind that already our constitution gave citizens the right to demonstrate in section 25 (1); Every person shall have the right to freedom to assemble and demonstrate peacefully and without arms.
Democracy is the existence of free media and mass movements who would be able to expose sores and decays within society and governance. However, countless Gambians continue to face harassment in all forms including arbitrary arrest, detention and torture as they seek to express their opinions.
This is unacceptable because the continued abuse of rights and disregard for the rule of law is a direct affront to the peace and harmony known to our society.
There is value and importance of family and these treacherous acts are dividing every good and hardworking family. Please release all the political prisoners.
Those that lost their lives we pray for them so justice will prevail one day including those that disappeared into thin air we know for sure that they are dead as well. How many innocent people will be sent to prison or disappear or die before Jammeh you realize that you have destroyed The Gambia.
The people suffering the most are the women and children. How many children will be made orphans or women widowed. Imagine all the people that disappear or jailed for no reason, including all the women who have been stripped of their dignity.
These orphaned children will grow up to be the future leaders and elders of our beloved country but imagine them not being well equipped, trained, nurtured, lacking the moral and spiritual aspect with the necessary education and economically sound background to hold such responsibilities. Where will all this lead our country to?
Respect to all the women out there who are genuinely suffering directly or indirectly due to the atrocities and heinous deeds who still hold their heads high and keep smiling and single handedly taking care of their families. Respect to all the men too who still keep up to their principles and respect no matter what they are going through. Let’s all work hand in hand, Gambia is our country. Yaya Jammeh you have seriously disappointed us.
Please Yaya Jammeh, release our people and set them free. It's enough now as you have more than betrayed our aspirations and inspirations as people. Justice guide our actions........ In the service of our country I remain.