GAMBIA: Reporters released after paying heavy bail

Original Alert: September 13, 2007

Malick Jones, Gambia Radio and Television Services

Mam Sait Ceesay, former editor The Daily Observer

Court proceedings were suspended against the principal producer and presenter of the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services, Malick Jones, and the former editor of the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper, Mam Sait Ceesay, on September 26, 2007. The decision followed the defense council’s submission that the case was filed without the approval of the attorney general, as required by law. No date has been fixed for the continuation of the hearings.

Jones and Ceesay were arrested on September 9 and held incommunicado in two separate locations by the National Intelligence Agency for three days until they appeared before the Banjul Magistrate’s Court to answer charges of passing sensitive information to a foreign journalist. Although granted bail on September 12, neither of the accused could afford the bail. 

Ceesay was released on September 18 after fulfilling his bail of 200,000 Dalasi (about US$9,800) and Jones was released three days later after paying the same bail.