“Mr. President, Let me first of all remind you that in this holy month of Ramadan we are compelled by our faith in Islam and through the teachings of his messenger, Prophet Mohammed (SAWS), to seek forgiveness from the Almighty Allah for all the sins, crimes and injustices we might have committed against our fellow human beings. One of the reasons you cited when you made the appeal to Senegal to open up the borders was the difficulties that the people could face if the borders remained closed during the Ramadan and as you said ‘ you hate to see your fellow Muslims to suffer’ during this holy month,” Writes an insider embedded in the Jammeh regime. Below is the full memo:

PRESIDENTIAL MEMO

To: His Excellency SPAD Yahya Jammeh (Babilli Mansa), President of The Islamic Republic of The Gambia

FROM: A Concerned Citizen

SUBJECT: Keeping Lawyer Darboe In Jail Could Make Him Win The 2016 Election?

Mr. President, Let me first of all remind you that in this holy month of Ramadan we are compelled by our faith in Islam and through the teachings of his messenger, Prophet Mohammed (SAWS), to seek forgiveness from the Almighty Allah for all the sins, crimes and injustices we might have committed against our fellow human beings. One of the reasons you cited when you made the appeal to Senegal to open up the borders was the difficulties that the people could face if the borders remained closed during the Ramadan and as you said ‘ you hate to see your fellow Muslims to suffer’ during this holy month.

The continued detention of the jailed UDP leader along with his executive members and supporters who are still imprisoned miles away from their families, loved ones and children for crimes that is a bailable offense under the laws of this country; questioned the genuineness of those sentimental religious appeals you made during the visit of the Guinean President Alpha Conde. With the exception of one of the executive members, all those currently detained are devoted Muslims who were arrested for freely expressing their rights to assembly. The continuation of the trials of the UDP leader and his supporters without any defense is putting our own judiciary on trial. Many innocent people are being held captives based on trumped up and baseless charges as they are being tried in kangaroo courts where the verdicts are known well before even the trials are ended.

Nearly all countries have laws that protect freedom of speech written in their Constitutions and Section 25 of the Constitution of the Gambia guarantees all those God-given rights. The bedrock of all liberties is the right to free expression, freedom from torture and from cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment as well as the guarantee of equal treatment before the law. Free speech is the best defense against any bad and repressive government but right now in the Gambia curbs on free speech have grown tighter and speaking out is becoming more dangerous to anyone whose views are different.

We have seen how an innocent one-month old baby is jailed along with his mother together with other UDP supporters for just being at the wrong place in the wrong time which exposed the horror of your style of leadership- The hired mercenary Judges from Nigeria and Cameron presiding over these political cases could cause injurious damages to our national pride before they eventually escape back to their home countries leaving us with a divided, disunited country with deep unhealed scars.

After 22 years of brutal reign of terror, we are overwhelmed with silence for torture, personal security, absence of freedom from association and lack of participation in the political process.. As Gambians we are filled with patriotic pride. Prisons in the Gambia today is no longer for convicted murderers, hardened criminals, petty thieves, fraudsters, arm robbers and for those found guilty of manslaughter.  With the onslaught on freedom of speech and the persistent interference in the courts; Imams, ambassadors, ministers and any one you perceived as thwarting you wishes or having uncongenial views could be sent to prison turning this our peaceful country into an overcrowded “open prison” almost in similarity with the slave camps that were in existence during the slave trade.

The challenges facing our country is how Gambians be given back their rights to live in peace and dignity without fear of repression, torture or imprisonment. There is a rising tide of discontent and many people are of the view that all the detained members of the UDP filling our jails from Mile 2 to Janjangbureh prisons are prisoners of conscience. As one erudite history scholar once said,” What is the difference between holding an innocent person in captivity under Yaya Jammeh’s horrible prison conditions compared to the slaves camps that were designed to hold the our captured ancestors to be sold as slaves?” 

It is not a crime to demand for effective judicial remedy; it is not a crime to be free from arbitrary interference and arrests; it is not a crime to speak the languages of your parents whether it is Mandinka, fulla, wolof, serehule, Aku, manjago or jola; it is not a crime to practice an follow the religion of your mother and father; it is not a crime to hold peaceful protests for a just cause neither is it a crime to support any political party in a civilized political system. Creating racial divide or promoting disharmony on grounds of religion, race or tribes is a recipe for incitement to violence.

Our religion is peace and to take up arms in pursuit of any demonstration in the country is truly un-Islamic. May Allah, the Supreme leader, be the judge of all things and through His mercy and benevolence may we be forgiven for all our sins, trespasses and crimes against our fellow human beings be they Christians, Muslims, Pagans or in-betweens in this Holy month of Ramadan.  The fight for truth and injustice transcends all religions and ethnolinguistic groups. I know that releasing Lawyer Darboe now is a political suicide for you but the silence by our religious leaders over this issues especially in this sacred month for forgiveness is particular galling to say the least. Somebody must speak out to bring sanity in this country that used to be the citadel of democracy.

 I am convinced that seeing you do some good things in the past such as the blanket amnesty given to all prisoners last year, that behind the ruthless zeal you are showing to deal with your political opponents there is a small place in your heart to forgive. Please exercise mercy on all the political detainees during this holy month. Some of us are filled with patriotic pride and thus find it unacceptable to sit down and see our country divided by lack of political maturity or the creation of disharmony on ground of religion, tribe or race.

May Allah bless the greatness of those who care for the truth!

Written By An Insider

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