Gambia ALERT: Detained journalist released, charged with ”giving false information to a public servant”

The Banjul Magistrate Court granted bail to Sulayman Saidy, a reporter with the Gambia News and Report, a privately-owned Banjul-based weekly magazine.

The journalist was arrested while working on January 6 and detained over night at a police station. He was charged with three counts of ”giving false information to a public servant”, “uttering false documents” and “altering a birth certificate”.

Saidy was granted bail in the sum of 100, 000 Dalasis (about 3,846 US$) with one surety. The court also confiscated his national identity card.

Saidy was picked up by state security agents in the company of his colleagues at the Banjul International Airport. They had gone there to cover President Abdoulaye Wade’s departure to Senegal after a two-day visit to The Gambia.

Saidy was whisked away in an unregistered vehicle with tinted glass and detained until he was rushed to court late in the afternoon about 1600 hours GMT.

The journalist until his appearance in court was not told of the reasons for his arrest and subsequent detention. Saidy, who was without his legal counsel, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was to reappear on January 21.

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