Page last updated at 07:20 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

Gambia Britons on sedition charge

Fiona and David Fulton
The Fultons have been held in separate prisons

Two British Christian missionaries have been charged with sedition in the West African state of The Gambia.

David Fulton, 60, from Troon in Ayrshire and his wife Fiona, 46, from Torquay in Devon, were arrested last Saturday and have appeared in court.

Mr Fulton works as a chaplain in the mainly Muslim country's army, and first moved to The Gambia 12 years ago.

The Foreign Office says British consular staff are in contact with the couple, who have pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution accuse the couple of writing letters to individuals and groups abroad to "bring into hatred or contempt, to excite disaffection" against the Gambian president, the Reuters news agency reported.

The couple were granted bail of 125,000 ($181,600), which they have reportedly yet to find.

'Not eating'

Mr Fulton, a former army major, is said to be held at a high security jail outside the capital, Banjul.


Mrs Fulton, originally from Torquay in Devon, is being held with the couple's two-year-old adopted daughter at a police station in Banjul.

A friend said Mrs Fulton is being treated well, but there were concerns for her husband.

"We don't think he's fared quite as well. He's not eating," the friend told the Press Association.

The friend said the couple's "whole focus has been teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ".

"I don't know of anything they have done that could be called sedition."

Mrs Fulton is understood to spend her time looking after terminally ill people and visiting women in their homes and in hospital.

The Gambia is one of Africa's smallest countries and has been ruled by President Yahya Jammeh since 1994, when he seized power.

President Jammeh's government has been criticised by international rights groups for its attitude to civil liberties, especially freedom of the press.

The country has a secular constitution, but its population is 90% Muslim.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Two British nationals have been arrested in The Gambia and Foreign Office consular staff have been in touch with the couple and are providing consular assistance."

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