United States Ambassador to the United Nations demanded the release of an American jailed in West Africa on Tuesday after meeting with her family.
U.S. Envoy Samantha Power held talks with Ebrima Jawara, husband of US citizen of Gambian native, Fanta Jawara convicted in The Gambia in July to serve three years in jail by a special court.
Power said Gambia must free Ms. Jawara in a twitter message.
“Met w/Fanta Jawara’s husband @janko1992 today. Gambia must #FreeFanta – even judge said she wasn’t involved”.
“I am very pleased with our discussion. She renewed her call for the immediate release of my wife and assured me of continuous U.S. support during this difficult time. I hope something positive will come out of our meeting,” said Mr. Jawara.
Fanta Jawara of Frederick, Maryland, a wife and mother of two daughters ages 12 and 17, arrived in The Gambia to visit her family. She was arrested on April 16th along with opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and others and charged with seven counts of unlawful assembly, riot, incitement of violence, riotously interfering with traffic, holding a procession without a license, disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession and conspiracy.
The Nigerian judge at the Special Criminal Court Justice Eunice Dada during her judgment said Fanta Jawara is convicted “because she refused to defend herself although there is no evidence against her.”
“Fanta Jawara as a nurse could have defended herself and refused therefore I do not believe her. Fanta Jawara is convicted because she refused to defend although no evidence against her. The accused refused to participate therefore, it’s my view that they have no basis to participate and they will not be allowed to speak on the issue of sentencing” Justice Dada explained.
Being in the right place, the city market, at the wrong time, Fanta was throughout the trial process detained at the Mile II Central Prison as an onlooker during a protest for the release of Gambian political activist and opposition member Solo Sandeng who was arrested on April 14th for leading a peaceful protest at Westfield calling for electoral reforms.
(Reporting and Writing by Alhagie Jobe; Contribution and Additional Reporting by Sainey MK Marenah; Editing by Sam Phatey)