Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release

By Tom Rhodes/Africa Program Coordinator on March 19, 2010 10:15 AM ET

Gambia Press Union

For more than two years, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and a group of Senate colleagues have been pressing for the release of Gambian journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, left. In July 2006, security agents arrested Manneh at his workplace at the Daily Observer and have since held him incommunicado and without charge. On Thursday, Durbin and four other senators sent a letter to Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, urging him to launch an investigation into the case. 

The two-page letter is signed by U.S. Sens. Durbin, Russ Feingold, Robert Casey, Benjamin L. Cardin, and Joe Lieberman. It says in part:

Mr. Manneh’s disappearance and the Gambian Government’s ongoing refusal to account for his whereabouts are in direct contradiction of the strong human rights standards embraced by the Commonwealth. … Undoubtedly many members of the Commonwealth also share our concern about the deteriorating political and human rights situation in the Gambia, an issue you raised at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Gambia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an organization of 54 nations that works toward common goals of democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and good governance.

The Economic Community of West African States Community Court of Justice and the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have already called for Manneh’s immediate release. 


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