By Alagie Manneh
Human rights activist and political commentator Madi Jobarteh yesterday reported back to the Kairaba Police Station following his detention and questioning by police Tuesday.
The activist was charged with false publication after he accused the government of failing to investigate and serve justice on three deaths, two of which involved the police.
After talking to the police, Jobarteh told waiting journalists that his detention was an “attempt to silence him”.
“They want to silence me and Gambians to not scrutinise government so that they will be free to do as they wish,” the country rep of the Westminster Foundation said.
The police told Mr Jobarteh to report back to the station again tomorrow. “They said that’s the directive they received from the top,” he said.
The police did not say whether he will be taken to court or not, however, the activist vowed to explore all his legal options and sue the IGP for infringement of his liberty.
“I intend to sue the government. I have also informed the NHRC of this development and all other relevant international bodies,” Mr Jobarteh said.
If convicted, the activist will serve a minimum jail term of one year and a maximum fine of D250,000 under the false information and broadcasting law.
His brother and magistrate Junkung Jobarteh was earlier quoted as saying “opinions are not facts and cannot be criminalised.”
Many other observers describe Jobarteh’s detention as a blow and setback to Gambia’s nascent democracy.