In solidarity with Fatou Camara

Tuesday, October 01, 2013
We are dismayed at the continued detention of our colleague Fatou Camara, former director of Press and Public Relations at the Office of the President in Banjul and host of the famous Fatou Show on GRTS television.

Fatou Camara was reportedly picked up from her house by two plain-clothes officers, and placed under custody at the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul since on Sunday 15th September without any official information as to the reason(s) for her detention.

If Ms Camara has done anything contrary to the laws and ethics of the profession or any offence whatsoever, we expect the authorities to resort to the courts of the land.

As Section 19 subsection (2) of the Constitution clearly states that: “Any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case within three hours, in a language he or she understands, of the reasons for his or her arrest or detention and of his or her right to consult a legal practitioner”.

Interestingly, to our knowledge, as of now, no official charges have been announced against her and no official information was made available to this paper as to the reason(s) for her continuing detention by the NIA.

We have over the years emphasized the need for due process to be followed at all times, so that human rights are always seen to be respected in this country.

There is no doubt that Gambians will be happy to see that no one is detained for more than 72 hours without being brought before a court.

People may only be held for 72 hours before charges must be brought against them, the country’s constitution stipulates. After that, they should be brought before the law courts or released immediately.

Anything that goes against this is a total violation of the Constitution of this Republic, the supreme law of the land and will, therefore, be contrary to the rule of law.

A word for the wise is enough!

‘‘All we can do is to uphold the laws, all of us, without allowing the memory of justice to fade.’’

J.M. Coetzee