By Tabora Bojang
A leader of the Citizens’ Alliance party, Dr Ismaila Ceesay, has called on the inspector general of the police to immediately drop all charges against Madi Jobarteh.
Jobarteh, a strident human rights activist, is expected to be arraigned before a magistrate at the Kanifing court charged with false publication after he said the government failed to investigate the deaths of three Gambians who died at the hands of security forces.
Dr Ceesay said the attempt to haul Mr Jobarteh in court is part of a scheme by the Barrow government to intimidate and silence dissent in the country.
The charge of false publication against Mr Jobarteh, he charged, is an affront to democracy and an attempt to silence dissenting voices by creating a culture of fear.
Ceesay who was himself arrested and charged in 2018 for incitement to violence after a newspaper comment accusing the president of not doing enough to win the confidence of the army, argued that “it is an attempt to strangle civil society which cannot be allowed”.
“If we are not vigilant and allow these things to happen, we will slip and walk back to dictatorship,” the political science lecturer warned.
He said “any attempt to stifle dissenting voices in this country will be met with the toughest resistance”.
“I think they are trying to test the water. We all know Madi is one of the most prominent human rights activists in this country, and this government is bent on entrenching itself in power and doesn’t want to be criticised. When people critique, they expose weaknesses, power abuses and malpractices,” he said.
Jobarteh who heads the Westminster Foundation in The Gambia, reported to the Kairaba Police Station yesterday morning where he was referred to the Kanifing Police Station for further scrutiny.
Later in the day, he wrote on his Facebook page: “I just left the prosecutor’s office at Kanifing police. I am reporting again on Monday and in preparation to go to court. Thanks to all of you for the show of support against this state harassment! Three years after we ousted dictatorship it is an insult to criminalise citizens for their opinion.”