Languages
Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 13:39 UK

Gambia media jail terms 'unjust'

President Yahya Jammeh
President Yahya Jammeh came to power in a coup in 1994

A media watchdog has criticised two-year jail terms handed down to six Gambian journalists for publishing a statement criticising the president.

They were found guilty of six counts of defamation and sedition.

The journalists had questioned Yahya Jammeh's declaration the government was not responsible for the 2004 death of prominent journalist Deyda Hydara.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the sentencing reflected a "partisan judicial system".

"President Jammeh has managed to nail the coffin shut for press freedom in The Gambia," CPJ's Tom Rhodes said in a statement.

A poster saying: "Who killed Deyda Hydara?"
Deyda Hydara was a vocal critic of draconian media laws

The head of The Gambia Press Union, Ndey Tapha Sosseh, told the BBC she was "shocked" by the harsh outcome of the trial.

Mr Hydara, a vocal critic of strict media laws, was gunned down but nobody was charged with his murder.

Since then the privately owned newspaper he edited, The Point, has incorporated into its masthead his photo, with the question: "Who killed Deyda Hydara?"

It is three years since another prominent journalist Chief Ebrima Manney went missing.

President Yahya Jammeh came to power through a coup in 1994 and has won three multi-party elections since then.

But amid claims of plots to oust him, dozens of people have been arrested and unlawfully detained, human rights groups say.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Gambia reporters' sedition charge
19 Jun 09 |  Africa
Fear for Gambia's missing reporter
12 Jul 07 |  Africa
'Hitmen killed Gambia journalist'
06 Jan 05 |  Africa
Gambia jail terms for coup plot
20 Apr 07 |  Africa
Timeline: The Gambia
19 Apr 11 |  Country profiles
Country profile: The Gambia
04 May 11 |  Country profiles

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific