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‘This is not freedom … I’m just in a bigger jail’

By Imam Baba Leigh, Gambian Muslim scholar and human rights activist.
Imam Baba Leigh

Just a few days ago, on 22 October, I was given an award from the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network. I was not expecting it, which makes me all the more happy and appreciative.

Sadly, I was not allowed to go and receive it in my home country, The Gambia, because there was a chance I could be arrested there.

My responsibility, as a Muslim and as a scholar, is to ensure people enjoy their human rights, regardless of colour, race, gender, religion, tradition, economic status or anything else. We are all human beings at the end of the day. As a human rights activist receiving such a prestigious award is wonderful. You feel your work is recognised and encouraged.

Problems for me started when, in August 2012, our head of state President Jammeh promised to execute several inmates.

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