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Gambia14 December 2007

On third anniversary of journalist’s murder, indifference in Banjul for family and friends

The third anniversary of the murder of Deyda Hydara, the editor of The Point newspaper and Banjul correspondent of Agence France-Presse and Reporters Without Borders, will be commemorated with great sadness by Reporters Without Borders on 16 December, especially as the Gambian authorities have made no attempt to identify and punish his killers.

“Hydara’s family and friends have been mourning this great African journalist for three years while the government does nothing or just slanders his memory, and we pay tribute to their courage and resolve,” the press freedom organisation said.

“Everything President Yahya Jammeh has said about Hydara has been contradictory or aggressive and it is now clear that his government has no intention of shedding light on this terrible murder. Although, for the time being, they must continue to live in world of rumour and indifference, we assure them we will continue to campaign until the truth comes out.”

Hydara was shot dead in a street beside a police barracks as he was driving two employees home on the evening of 16 December 2004. He had previously received threats from the National Intelligence Agency, which had him under surveillance a few minutes before he was gunned down.

No serious attempt was made to identify either the perpetrators or instigators of this murder. The only official statement from the Gambian officials responsible for the investigation came six months later. Referring to Hydara as “provocative,” it absurdly suggested that the murder could have been linked to his sex life.

In a New Year’s interview in January, President Jammeh blamed “Gambia’s enemies” for Hydara’s murder. He said Hydara was killed with the aim of preventing him, Jammeh, from being elected president of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). He did not elaborate.

In this country
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Regional group asked to intercede on behalf of missing journalist
12 March - Gambia
Adjournment of trials facing editor of the daily The Point
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The Point editor faces trial on “false information” charge for reporting diplomat’s arrest
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Journalists still live in fear four years after unpunished murder of Deyda Hydara
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Freelance journalist gets four years in prison or heavy fine for criticising president

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