Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Child removed from Gambia Britons

David Fulton (far left), Fiona Fulton (centre), Jim Rae (fourth from left)
Mr Fulton (far left) and his wife worked with pastors in The Gambia

The two-year-old adopted daughter of British Christian missionaries arrested in Africa is being cared for by a family friend, the Foreign Office said.

David Fulton, 60, from Troon in Ayrshire and his wife Fiona, 46, from Devon, were arrested in The Gambia on sedition charges on 29 November.

The child had been in police custody with Mrs Fulton but has now been placed with friends.

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

It is believed Mrs Fulton has been moved from the police station to a jail in the capital, Banjul.

The Foreign Office confirmed that the child was being cared for by a family friend.

A spokeswoman said consular staff were checking on the welfare of the couple and the child.

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

The prosecution has accused 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.

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The couple pleaded not guilty and were granted bail of 125,000 ($181,600), which they have reportedly yet to find.

A friend of the couple, Jim Rae from Motherwell, said he was concerned for Mr Fulton's health.

He said: "The stories that are coming back from the prison is that Davey is not eating and apparently he is not well, he is a bit sick," he said.

"His body is failing, according to the contact, and that worries me - his physical condition as well as the kind of stress he must be under.

"I don't know whether he's going on hunger strike or whether this is just a question of his body can't eat at the moment because of the pressure he is under."

The Gambia is one of Africa's smallest countries and has been ruled by President 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.

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Country profile: The Gambia
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