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Gambia24 September 2003

Editor of The Independent freed

Abdoulie Sey, missing publisher and editor of the twice-weekly paper The Independent, was freed on 23 September reportedly after being held four days by the National Intelligence Agency for interrogation about articles criticising President Yahya Jammeh. He was not charged with any offence.

One of his colleagues told Reporters Without Borders Sey had been arrested on 19 September by NIA agents and taken away for questioning in a black car with no numberplates. Soon after being released, he had fallen ill because of bad conditions of detention by the NIA, the colleague said.

The paper’s staff and the Gambian Press Union had urged the NIA to free him. But the agency denied involvement and said it did not know where he was.


Journalist missing for four days

Reporters Without Borders called on the Gambian government today to make urgent efforts to find Abdoulie Sey, publisher of the twice-weekly paper The Independent, who disappeared on 19 September soon after printing an article criticising the country’s president.

"We fear he has been arrested because of his work as a journalist," it said. "If he has, we call on the authorities to release him immediately.".

Colleagues and witnesses said he was arrested by three men and taken away in a black car with no numberplates. The paper’s staff and the Gambian Press Union urged the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), suspected of being responsible, to free him. But the NIA told them and Sey’s wife that it was not involved and did not know where he was.

Gambian journalists said he may have arrested because a recent article in the paper speculating on the mental state of President Yahya Jammeh. The NIA frequently arrests or threatened journalists who criticise the government.

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