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Three top Gambian lawyers have agreed to take the case of the detained former Information Minister Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, who was picked up at his Kotu office by plain clothe officers, last week,  the Freedom Newspaper can report.  Lawyer Lamin Camara, Borry Touray, and Assan Martin have decided to come to the rescue of the embattled former Tennessee political science Professor—whose whereabouts remain as a mystery to his loved ones, and business partners.  Both the police, and the National Drug Enforcement Agency, the (NDEA) had repeatedly denied detaining Mr. Janneh.  Police said there are no records in various police stations across the country suggesting that Mr. Janneh is in their custody.

Mr. Janneh, and four others are being held in connection with allegations of having ties with a “secret Organization” called the Coalition For Change—otherwise known as (CCG).  The Organization was set up in early April.

So far there are only two known Executive members associated with this pro-democracy group, and they are both residing outside the country. The Gambia President Union President Ndey Tapha Sosseh is serving as its Secretary General, while exiled Gambian journalist Mathew K Jallow coordinates the Organization’s press matters.

An official of the NIA was quoted as having said that the Agency “is done with processing the detainees, including Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh.” That, the matter has been transferred to the police for possible prosecution.   The police are expected to seek legal opinion from the Attorney General's Chambers in order to file any charges against the detainees, sources said.

One of the Lawyers representing the detainees made frantic efforts to locate Dr. Janneh, and others, but the NIA claimed that the case had been forwarded to the police.  Hopefully, before close of business on Monday, the lawyers will have access to their client(s), said our source.

Sources close to the defense team confirmed to the Freedom Newspaper that the Lawyers  have been tasked to represent Dr. Janneh, but they are yet to receive any credible information about Janneh’s exact whereabouts.  Information about the CCG and its membership in The Gambia is also a million dollar question. There is no enough information about the group's local representatives in The Gambia, a dependable source said.

“ The Lawyers are hoping to locate him on Monday,” said our source adding that his attorneys  are working on Janneh’s case.

Mr. Janneh was briefly escorted to his office during the weekend by plain clothe officers. They were onboard a tainted vehicle without a registration number.  Janneh, was later escorted back to prison.

    Diasaporan Gambians Defend Janneh!

Banka Manneh, the Chairman of  the Save The Gambia Democracy Project in an interview with Freedom Radio Saturday called on The Gambia Government to release Dr. Janneh from custody.  Mr. Manneh, is of the view that Janneh is being persecuted for merely exercising his constitutional rights as a citizen of The Gambia. He said Janneh has all rights under the sun to join, or associate himself with any pro democracy Organization—whether registered, or not registered in The Gambia.

Mr. Manneh, lambasted the Jammeh Government saying the regime is notorious of its lack of respect for human rights, rule of law, and fundamental liberties of Gambians.  Mr. Manneh opines that dictator Jammeh has been using his security forces to silence dissent in the country—with the unfinished disappearances of political opponents. He noted that Dr. Janneh’s case, is one out of many unresolved gross rights violations in The Gambia. Manneh said all hands should be put on deck to secure Janneh’s freedom from the agents of terror in the West African country.

Acknowledging that Dr. Janneh has his own shortcomings as a human being, but stressed that even though the former Jammeh critic later turned as an apologist to  the system after cross carpeting to the ruling APRC, that alone shouldn’t  warrant Gambians to turn their back against the embattled former state Minister. Manneh said the onus lies on peace loving Gambians to rally behind Dr. Janneh irrespective of his past political affiliation—adding “injustice against an individual, is an injustice to all.”   

Regarding the composition of the Coalition For Change Organization, Mr. Manneh said he doesn’t have enough information about who is who in the said group. He said he had made repeated enquires through its outside wing and is hoping to hear from Ndey Tapha Sosseh, and, Mathew Jallow about the Organization’s Executive composition.

Mr. Manneh observes that in the absence of information about the CCG, and its membership speculations are bound to rife. He noted thatquestions about the organization's membership is a legitimate concern, and the group should endeavor to be transparent in its dealings with the press, and the general public. 

Mr. Manneh said up till this hour he couldn’t confirm with the CCG if Dr. Janneh  was part of their organization. He observes that situations like this one requires proper, and timely approach.  He said the CCG should be able to establish contacts in The Gambia who would supply them information as things unfold, but it appears that there is information blackout. He said the Organization is not adequately responding to legitimate queries regarding its Executive, and names of those arrested in The Gambia.

             Saihou Mballow’s Version    

Mr. Saihou Mballow is the  Chairman of the Movement For Democracy based in New York City.  Mr. Mballow called on the Jammeh Government to respect the rights, and liberties of Gambians.  He  said the constitutional time frame governing the 72 hours stipulation for the detention of inmates had been violated by the Government. He said the regime should endeavor to charge, or release accused persons each time they are detained.

Mr. Mballow, describes Dr. Janneh as a patriotic son of The Gambia, who returned home for the sake of contributing his quota to nation building. He said the Jammeh Government is discouraging its citizens from investing in the country—with the unlawful arrest, and detention of citizens. He said the arrest of Dr. Janneh was a clear case of witch hunting. He said the regime had lost the trust, and respect of the international community in view of its appalling rights record.

Mr. Mballow said there is nothing subversive in associating oneself with  an organization clamoring for political change, or the restoration of democracy in The Gambia.  He demands for Janneh’s unconditional release.

Mr. Mballow also said he doesn’t have enough information about the CCG, but that would not stop his organization from condemning the illegal arrest of Dr. Janneh.  He said Gambians should remain united and end impunity in the country.

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Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2011 (Archive on Tuesday, August 30, 2011)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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