PRESS RELEASE ON THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF THREE EXECUTIVE MEMBERS OF NADD
The people of our dear nation are shocked by the press release emanating from the Department of State for the Interior informing the world at large that Hamat Bah, Omar Jallow (OJ) "have been arrested and are helping the Police in their investigations into subversive activities and posing threat to national security" and that "the third suspect Halifa Sallah of NADD" was at large. Gambians and all sane and decent minded persons are not only shocked by this announcement but they are disgusted by the misinformation and the arbitrary arrest and detention of these three members of the Executive Committee of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD). They have, since their arrest by the Security forces on Tuesday, 15th November, 2005, been held incommunicado.
Although the State's misinformation machinery disclosed that these three senior members of the NADD Executive are helping the Police in their investigations of subversive activities and threats to national security yet information reaching NADD from official sources are that the State is studying what charges to prefer against them. This practice of arresting political targets and then scratching one's head in the search for trumped up charges is to say the least arbitrary and an abuse of the State's power of arrest. It is inimical to the rule of law and undermines the bona fide application of the due process concept that requires the arrest of a suspect upon reasonable suspicion that he has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence.
The release issued by The Department of State for the Interior is very typical of the false and fabricated assertions by dictators against political opponents and this particular release is no exception.
Gambians will recall that after the Supreme Court of the Gambia declared the seats of the four Opposition National Assembly members vacant, President Jammeh addressed a political rally at Sinchu at which he declared that he will support and take part in any effort that is aimed at destroying Hamat Bah and that he will do everything possible to ensure that both Hamat Bah and Halifa Sallah do not return to the National Assembly. The arrest of and detention of both Hamat Bah and Halifa Sallah is a fulfillment of that promise. With the type of fabricated allegations against the three arrested
NADD Executive members, Halifa Sallah (the Minority Leader and a member of the Pan-African Parliament) will not only be kept away from participating in the proceedings of the National Assembly and the PanAfrican Parliament for an indefinite period but the wish and will of the people of Serrekunda Central in electing to the National Assembly will stand stultified.
It is the view of the NADD that the airing of the Press release by the State media which continued even a day after the arrest of Halifa Sallah is a calculated ploy by President Jammeh's regime to mislead the nation that he was at large even though he had been arrested by 7.30pm on Tuesday 15th November, 2005. Such an act is very irresponsible and constitutes an abuse of office. The ploy will however not work.
The interest of NADD is to have a clean sweep at the 2006 polls. But the conduct of the President is yet to convince the Gambian public that he is interested in a peaceful, free and fair election. On the contrary, the indications are that he is interested in an election ridden by violence, intimidation, chaos and confusion. The unwillingness of the APRC to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between political parties in The Gambia initiated by General Abubakar former Head of State of Nigeria on behalf of the Commonwealth is a living testimony to this.
The arrest and detention of these three persons runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding. These arrests and detention are politically motivated and signs of what is in store for the Opposition in the run-up to the 2006 Presidential Elections
We demand the immediate release of the three NAAD Executive Members whose continued detention is without justification. Their continued detention is unacceptable.
So NADD decided to lawyer up and write a treatise essentially begging a dictator to spare their imprisoned colleagues. Take the last sentence in their press release for instance:
We demand the immediate release of the three NAAD Executive Members whose
continued detention is without justification. Their continued detention is
They made a demand but failed to specify what the consquences will be if their demands are not met. If that is not wimping out then I have a camel to sell you.