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Justice for Deyda Hydara!


Justice for Deyda Hydara!

Today, December 16, 2006 marks the second anniversary of the fatal murder of the Gambian journalist, Deyda Hydara.

The prominent editor of the independent newspaper The Point was shot three times in the head that fateful day by unidentified gunmen, while he was returning home from his office in Bakau, a district in Serrekunda, Gambia's largest city.

The murder of the journalist occurred at a time he was challenging a new repressive legislation affecting media freedom in The Gambia in his newspaper.

Two (2) years on and Deyda's murderers are still at large because no serious investigation has been carried out by the Gambian authorities.

Since this horrible murder the journalist's family, his friends and colleagues, human rights organisations and the international community have continued to ask for justice for his murder.

The first condition for enforcing justice is the identification and the punishment of Deyda's murderers. For this purpose only an independent and international commission could conduct this investigation without any government interference. Only such a commission could also conduct such an investigation because of the atmosphere of fear, threats, arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists, opposition politicians, and indeed ordinary citizens who express any views remotely in contrast to what the government of President Yahya Jammeh wants to hear various kinds of persecution and harassment that they today face.

Many journalists have fled into exile. The Gambia has become one of the most dangerous places in Africa to practice journalism.

As of now, at least two (2) newspapers (Citizen and Independent) and two (2) radio stations (Citizen and SUD FM) remain forcibly and arbitrarily closed.

On this second anniversary of the murder of Deyda Hydara:
The Network of African Freedom of Expressions Organisations (NAFEO) appeals to the:
- The Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Secretariat and Heads of States;
- The African Union Secretariat and Heads of States;
- The African Commission for Human and People's Rights:
- Other democratic governments with diplomatic and or other relation with Gambia;
- International, regional, national human rights organisations in Africa and elsewhere, and all other institutions and agencies who support democracy and human rights; to demand of the government of President Jammeh to:

1. Set up an independent investigation into the murder of Deyda Hydara;
2. End the attacks against journalists and the media;
3. Unconditionally release Chief Ebrima Manneh and other journalists and citizens held under arbitrarily detention;
4. Reopen the offices of all closed media houses;
5. End the arbitrary arrest and detention of citizens who express opinions differing from the government's views.

Ends

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