- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has pleaded with the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to meditate with the Gambian authorities in a case of a missing journalist, Ebrima Manneh since 2006.
According to a letter from RSF addressed to Dr Mohamed Chambas, the president of ECOWAS, the president’s involvement will convince the Gambian leadership to shed light on the whereabouts of the missing journalist.
Last year, an ECOWAS court ordered the Gambian government to free Mr Manneh and pay him compensation, but the government continued to deny holding him.
In a ruling issued on 5 June 2008, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which is based in the Nigerian city of Abuja, formally ordered President Yahya Jammeh’s government to release Mr Manneh and pay him $100,000 in damages, but the government refused to cooperate.
According to the organisation, the Gambian justice minister Marie Saine Firdaus denied on 6 April that Mr Manneh had never been detained in a Gambian prison.
“There are no reports of Mr Manneh being seen since then and some police officer believe he is now dead,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Mr Manneh, a journalist with the privately owned Daily Observer, has been missing ever since his arrest by members of the National Intelligence Agency on 7 July 2006, a few days after an African Union summit in Banjul.
The reason for his arrest never came to light and the Gambian government has always refused to provide any information about what has happened to him.
Mr Manneh was reportedly being held in a provincial police station in January 2007 and then in Banjul’s Mile Two prison in July 2007, before being transferred to a hospital.
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