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Gambian gov't reassures right to freedom of expression

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Banjul, Gambia, February 3 (Infosplusgabon) - Following the arrest and release of a university lecturer by police over newspaper comments, the Gambian government has restated its commitment towards freedom of expression for the people.


“The government acknowledges that Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, a political science lecturer at the University of The Gambia, was invited by the police for questioning on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, over comments he made in an interview granted to The Voice newspaper,” the government said in a statement.


“Dr Ceesay who was subsequently released the same evening following questioning on security-related issues he referred to in the newspaper interview preferred to spend the night at the Police Headquarters, insisting that he needed to wait to talk to his lawyer.”


“While soliciting the understanding of the general public in such matters, the government wishes to reassure Gambian citizens and non-Gambians resident in the country that their fundamental rights to free expression as enshrined in the constitution will be respected,” the statement added.


Meanwhile, the University of the Gambia Faculty and Staff Association (UTGFSA) had demanded the immediate and unconditional release of its president, Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, who spent a day with the police in Banjul.


The association expressed its firm condemnation of the “arbitrary” arrest, describing it “as a blatant affront on his civic right and a threat to academic and freedom of expression in the country.”


The executive of the association called on its members to sit at home and refrain from taking part in all university functions and activities.


The orientation ceremony of some new students that was supposed to take place on Thursday in the law faculty was postponed till further notice as the university workers reacted to the arrest.






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