Gambia ALERT: BBC journalist prevented from witnessing treason trial

Ed Butler, a BBC World Service producer, was denied access to the High Court in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, by police officers deployed at the court premises.

Butler, who was on a private visit in the Gambia, had gone to the High Court at the invitation of a local journalist to witness an ongoing high profile “treason” trial involving eight persons including, a former military chief, but was prevented from entering the court premises with the excuse that the public gallery was filled to capacity.

However, when his colleague pleaded with the officer to allow him to sit in the media gallery since Butler is also a journalist, the officer called another police officer who insisted on seeing the accreditation of Butler before allowing him to the court premises.

The police officers believed Butler was on a spying mission.

MFWA as an African human rights organisation was worried about the repressive nature and systematic manner in which the Gambian authorities were stifling free expression and media freedom in that country.

We reiterated our call for the African Heads of State to ensure that the regime of President Jammeh respects human rights of the Gambians.

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