The lawyers of both disappeared journalist Ebrima Manneh and exiled Musa Saidkhan, have asked the Gambia government to comply with the ruling of the Ecowas court in both cases.
The call came in a letter from veteran Nigerian lawyer Femi Falana who represented the Media Foundation for West Africa in the cases of Musa Saidykhan and Chief Manneh at the Ecowas court.
His letter, addressed to both the Justice minster and the Gambian embassy in Abuja, reads:
“We are solicitors to the Media Foundation for West Africa on whose behalf we instituted two cases before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States sitting in Abuja, Nigeria. The details of both cases are set out below:
“In Suit No: ECW/CCJ/APP/04/07 between Chief Ebrima Manneh V Republic of The Gambia we challenged the arrest and detention of the plaintiff by the National Intelligence Agency. The defendant filed a preliminary objection against the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the human rights case, but objection was dismissed by the Court. In its judgment in the substantive suit delivered on the 5th day of June 2008 the court held declared the arrest and detention of the plaintiff illegal, ordered his immediate release fromcustody and awarded him damages of $100,000.00 (One hundred thousand United States Dollars).
“As we sought to enforce the judgment by seeking the immediate release of the plaintiff from further detention the defendant turned round to inform the court that the plaintiff could not be located in any of the prisons and detention centres in The Gambia. In the circumstance, we had initiated legal measures in the court to compel the ousted Yahya Jammeh regime to account for the disappearance of the plaintiff in the custody of the National Intelligence Agency before the recent change of government in The Gambia.
In Suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/11/07 Between Musa Saidykhan V Republic of The Gambia the plaintiff challenged his arrest, detention for 22 days by the National Intelligence Agency without any legal basis. In its judgment handed down on the 16 day of December 2010 the Ecowas Court granted the reliefs sought by the plaintiff and awarded him reparation of $200,000.00 (Two hundred thousand United States Dollars).
In the light of the foregoing and in line with the commitment of the Adama Barrow administration to restore the human rights of the people of The Gambia under the rule of law we hereby urge you to use your good offices to ensure immediate compliance with both judgments. Apart from asking for payment of the judgment sum of $300,000.00 (three hundred thousand dollars only) we request the Government to institute an inquiry into the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh under the Tribunal of Enquiry Act.