Lawyers for former Gambian diplomat, deputy minister seek his release

SARJO-JALLOW-1Attorneys for The Gambia’s former chief envoy to the African Union have filed a petition in court seeking an end to the incommunicado detention of Ambassador Sarjo Jallow, who they say is being held at the National Intelligence Agency detention facility in the capital Banjul.

Jallow returned to Banjul after he was recalled to serve as deputy foreign affairs minister, a position his wife, an opposition activist Jainaba Bah said he declined.

His lead counsel Antouman Gaye said Gambian authorities are violating Mr. Jallow’s rights and calls his detention a ‘very serious constitutional matter.’

“This is very serious constitutional matter, in which somebody has been detained incommunicado since 2 September 2016. I am objecting to the application. There is no reason made known to the court as to why we should not proceed with this matter.” said Gaye.

The Gambian authorities have been implicated in a break-in that happened at Jallow’s rented residence, which had military presence and belongs to the country’s vice president, Isatou Saidy.

Documents and his personal laptop went missing.

Gambian authorities have not refuted reports of alleged abduction by feared agents of the National Intelligence Agency. A missing person’s report filed by his family went uninvestigated by the police.

Jallow had been in detention a little over a month and no formal charges had been brought against him, his lawyers said.

“Since his arrest, he has been held incommunicado and denied access to family and has not been charged or arraigned before a court of law,” said his lead attorney.

Rights group say arbitrary arrests and detentions are prevalent in The Gambia with many disappearing for years and detained in secret facilities across the country.

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