EYEAFRICA TV: BANJUL, THE GAMBIA: Government of The Gambia has released Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, a political science professor of The University of The Gambia who was arrested and detained by the country’s security officers late Wednesday following an interview he granted to a local Newspaper on the presence of the ECOWAS Military Intervention in The Gambia (ECOMIG).
His arrested and detention was heavily criticised and condemned by Gambians who mounted a social media campaign for his immediate release. On Thursday morning, people, mainly youth and the Country’s present and past University students assembled at the police headquarters at the Capital city in Banjul to show their solidarity with Dr. Ceesay and demand for his release.
President Adama Barrow who came to power in December 2016 had given several promises to liberalise the country’s media and give space to freedom of expression and freedom of the media but these promises seem to start dwindling of recent.
“All the time people have complained. I’ve always said at least innocent people are not being arrested and detained. Well, it has happened to a man who is revered by many for his candor, smarts and patriotism,” Tukulorr Sey posted on her Facebook wall on Wednesday.
She said Dr. Ceesay moved back to The Gambia upon graduating because he wanted to be part of the Country’s development.
He is a lecturer at the University of The Gambia. He spoke to the Voice Newspaper where he gave his personal opinion about the current government expressing the security concerns but that does not go down well with the government warranting them to arrest him. At hash tag #FreeIsmailaCeesay was already being launched late Wednesday evening.
A youth and women’s right activist Aisha Bittaye-Jobe also posted, “It is unacceptable that a political scientist will be arrested for merely expressing an opinion regarding the political situation in The Gambia. When Gambians marched on December 1, 2016 and voted in President Barrow, we voted with hope that arbitrary arrest and unjust detention will end.”
Civil society organisations in the country including the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO), Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) and the University of the Gambia Faculty and Staff Association (UTGFSA) who all condemn the arrest, calling it a blatant affront on Dr. Ceesay’s civic right and a threat to academic and freedom of expression in the country.
They say the change that Gambians envisaged in December 2016, is a nation where citizens can express their opinion on national issues such as development, education, security, and democracy without fear of harassment from anyone.