Document - Gambia: Anti-death penalty Imam detained in The Gambia: Imam Baba Leigh


UA: 353/12 Index: AFR 27/014/2012 Gambia Date: 11 December 2012 Date: 14 January 2011


anti-death penalty imam detained in the gambia

Imam Baba Leigh has been held in incommunicado detention without charge since 3 December. Imam Baba Leigh publicly decried the August executions of nine death row inmates in The Gambia.

On 3 December eyewitnesses reported seeing two National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers arrive at the home of Imam Baba Leigh at around 10:00pm. The officers informed Imam Baba Leigh that he was being taken to their headquarters for questioning, but they did not provide any further information. Imam Baba Leigh has not been seen since.

His family believe he is being held in detention at the NIA headquarters. The NIA say they have no information regarding the whereabouts of Imam Baba Leigh.

Neither his family nor his lawyer has been able to visit him. Family and friends of Imam Baba Leigh are concerned about his well-being. A member of Imam Baba Leigh’s family told Amnesty International: “We are very worried about his condition. We haven’t seen him since Monday and have not been able to give him food or medication. We need to see him and know what crimes he has committed. “

The incommunicado detention of Imam Baba Leigh without charge is contrary to the Gambian Constitution Article 19 (3), which guarantees the right to be brought before a court of law within 72 hours, and to international and regional human rights law and standards.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

Urging the authorities to ensure that Imam Baba Leigh is brought before a court of law as a matter of urgency and charged with recognizable criminal offence or released

Urging the authorities to allow Imam Baba Leigh immediate access to his family and his lawyer


Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

Numo Kujabi

National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Headquarters

Banjul �The Gambia�Fax: +220 4225562

Salutation: Dear Director

Minister of Interior and NGO Affairs�Ousman Sonko

Ministry of Interior and NGO Affairs�No.5 J.R. Forster Street (Ex. Fitzgerald Street)�Banjul�The Gambia

Fax: +220 420 1320

Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:

Minister of Foreign Affairs, International

Mrs Susan Waffa Ogoo

Corporation and Gambians Abroad �Ministry of Foreign Affairs�4, Marina Parade�Banjul�The Gambia

Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


anti-death penalty imam detained in the gambia

ADditional Information

On the evening of 23 August, nine death row inmates – one woman and eight men – were taken out of their cells and by 24 August they had been executed by firing squad. The executions were carried out in secret and without informing the families, lawyers or respective governments of the prisoners before they took place. The prisoners themselves are believed to not have been told until they were taken from their cells. These executions were the first to take place in nearly 30 years. The bodies have still not be returned to their families or their burial site made known.

Imam Baba Leigh delivers his sermon every Friday at the Kanifing East Mosque, town/province. In September, Imam Baba Leigh strongly condemned the August executions of nine death row inmates stating that the executions were “un-Islamic”. The Imam called for the government to return the bodies of those executed to their families. Imam Baba Leigh has continued over the past few months to criticize the government and speak out against the death penalty in his sermons.

On 7 September two journalists, Baboucarr Ceesay and Abubacarr Saidykhan, were arrested for seeking a permit to peacefully protest the August executions. They were charged on 10 September with conspiracy to commit a felony. They were later charged with sedition and released on bail. The charges were finally dropped on 23 October, reportedly on the orders of President Yayha Jammeh. The journalists shortly after began receiving death threats.

Journalists, human rights activists and political opponents in the Gambia are routinely subjected to human rights violations such as unlawful arrests and detention, torture, unfair trials, harassment, assaults and death threats. This makes the continuation of their work extremely difficult.

Name: Imam Baba Leigh, Baboucarr Ceesay, Abubacarr Saidykhan

Gender m/f: m

UA: 353/12 Index: AFR 27/014/2012 Issue Date: 11 December 2012

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