- Musa Saidykhan, a Gambian editor of the bi-weekly newspaper, 'The Independent', is seeking for justice for being tortured by security forces while being detained in March 2006, the Accra-based Media Foundation for Africa (MWFA), said in a statement.
Armed soldiers and policemen had arrested Mr Saidykhan, who is now exiled, on the night of 27March 2006 and took him to the notoriously feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He was held incommunicado for 22 days without any charge during which he was tortured until he became unconscious. The continuous torture left physical scars on his back, legs, arms, and his right hand, which was disjointed three times.
"I was stripped naked while live-electric shocks were administered on all over my body including my genitals. I was told by my torturers that electric shocks on my genitals were meant to make me impotent", Mr Saidykhan, the editor of the banned newspaper that had never had peace with the Jammeh regime, told MFWA.
Most rights activists, including the MFWA, are at loggerheads with the Gambian regime of President Yahya Jammeh for launching a long-standing campaign that aims to repress independent media and journalists in the former British colony.
"This campaign, which focused on arbitrary detention and torture, has left many journalists escaping into exile," said MFWA Chief Executive Officer, Professor Kwame Kari Kari.
"In March 2006, when the government announced a foiled coup attempt, scores of people including lawyers, members of the opposition, ordinary people and journalists were arrested, illegally detained and suffered all sorts of cruelty including torture."
The MWFA also grinds axe with The Gambia government for "frequently detaining journalists incommunicado without trial for long periods", citing the case of Ebrima Manneh, a reporter for the pro-government newspaper, 'Daily Observer', who has been languishing in a police station in a border town of Fatoto, over 400 kilometres east of the capital Banjul.
Until last month, the whereabouts of Mr Manneh, who was held by Gambian intelligence agents on 11 July last year, were unknown. He was accused of passing unspecified "damaging" state information to a particular foreign journalist.
The government has consistently denied holding him. MFWA officials urged the government to unconditionally release Mr Manneh immediately or formally charge and bring him before an independent court of law.
The West Africa media watchdog urges is seeking solidarity from individuals, organisations and institutions, especially those that support freedom of expression to exert pressures on President Jammeh to end the suppression of freedom of speech and expression in The Gambia.
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