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Ecowas Court awards Hydara family $50,000 but says “No evidence linking gov’t to Deyda’s death”

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Hydara, the founder of The Point newspaper was shot dead by unidentified assailants as he drove home from his office on December 16, 2004. His murder remains unsolved. 

A panel of three justices in the Nigeria-based court declared that The Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency, tasked with investigating Hydara’s murder, did not carry out a proper investigation and cited its failure to carry out ballistic tests on the bullets and weapons recovered from suspects. The court said the Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency was “not an impartial body to conduct the investigation” but that there was no evidence linking the Gambian government to the murder.  

The Gambian authorities have strenuously denied any involvement in the death of the journalist and had conducted an investigation into the matter but could not determine who killed him.  

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Officials at the Ministry of Justice could not be available for a reaction to the ruling yesterday.

The law firm Aluko & Oyebode, which represents Hydara’s family, brought the lawsuit to the court with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. The court’s ruling is final with no mechanism to appeal, Dindam Killi, lawyer of the Hydara family, told the New York Committee to Protect Journalists. The Gambia, which is part of the 15-member Ecowas regional bloc,faces no sanctions for failure to comply, Killi told CPJ.


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