A court in The Gambia has charged seven prominent journalists with sedition following the publication last week of a statement criticising the president. They include leaders of the Gambia Press Union and newspaper editors. They had questioned Yahyah Jammeh’s declaration that the government was not responsible for the death in 2004 of prominent journalist Deyda Hydara.

SEDITIONThey deny the charges and international media watchdogs have called on the government to release them. They say harassment of the media in The Gambia has reached an unprecedented level. 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 nearly 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.


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