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Appeal for the Six Convicted Journalists

Aug 26, 2009, 6:16 AM

H.E. Sheikh, Alhagie, Doctor, Professor, Yahya A.J.J Jammeh

President of the Republic of The Gambia

State House



Your Excellency,


We the members of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) write to you pleading for mercy, for the six convicted, journalists who were sentenced to prison terms namely:

Sam Sarr, Emil Touray, Sarata Jabbi Dibba, Pa Modou Faal, Pap Saine and Ebrima Sawaneh, Traditionally, when there is a dispute and all possible means fail, if men and women of God intervene many a time the result is positive.


The YWCA is a faith- based organization which is committed by its Christian faith and bound by principles of love, mercy, forgiveness and tolerance, and because of these values coupled with our religious belief, we appeal to you for mercy.


Mr. President, according to the Holy Bible Ephesians 2.4 says that fundamentally God's mercy is about forgiveness. The Holy Bible indicated how God's divine mercy is wide. According to Psalm 103.10 it is written, "He (God) does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities". Sir, with this in mind, we are aware of your religious beliefs which you so openly demonstrate and practice and we have confidence that your heart will be softened to grant them pardon.


Your Excellency, amongst those convicted, some are sick and would not only need drugs but love and care of their families. There is also a nursing mother, Sarata, whose baby not only needs motherly love, but warmth, care, security and assurance of a conducive environment. We are aware that both religions encourage breastfeeding.

Your Excellency, according to the Holy Qur'an we looked at two very important words: AlRahman and al-Rahim: The most Merciful and Compassionate. These are the most frequently mentioned in the Qur'an. Al-Rahman is mentioned 57 times and Al-Raheem is mentioned 115 times. Al-Rahman indicates that Allah's mercy is abundant and plentiful and Al-Raheem indicates that this is always the case with Allah,


In one of the Hadiths, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that Allah has commissioned him with nine things. One of them was "that I forgive those who do wrong to me." The Qur'an also states that Allah is a Judge and He also punishes, but Allah is not bound to punish. Allah will not ignore the good of any person. But if He wishes to forgive any sinner, He has full freedom to do that, His mercy is unlimited and infinite.


Mr. President, we recall the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross. He was mocked, slapped, spat upon and was forced to put on a crown of thorns. He suffered until the last few hours before His death, but Jesus prayed for his enemies saying "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." This indicated that Jesus was the most forgiving person.


The same could be recalled of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The Prophet was ever ready to forgive his enemies. '(when he went to Ta'if to preach the message of Allah, the people mistreated him, abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, the angel of Allah visited him and told him that Allah sent him to destroy the people of Ta'if because of their sin for maltreating their Prophet. Holy Mohammad (PBUH) prayed to Allah to save the people of Ta'if, because what they did was out of their ignorance.


There are many verses in the Holy Qur'an and sayings of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that emphasises the mercy and forgiveness of Allah.


In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said: "O Allah, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive rue" (Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).


Your Excellency, as we enter the holy month of Ramadan we could hear people asking for forgiveness from all nooks and corners. Your Excellency, we appeal to you to use your influence and the power vested on you to grant them pardon as we plead for their release. Furthermore we appeal to you to abolish all judicial restrictions which were imposed on the six convicted journalists.

Your Excellency, we thank you for your understanding.


Yours faithfully,


Sign: Members of the Young Women's Christian Association-The Gambia