Abdoulie G. Dibba
It is 13 days today since Haruna Gassama, President of the Central River Region (CRR) Rice Farmers’ Cooperative, has been arrested and detained without access to family at the Janjanbureh prison beyond the 72 hours constitutional requirement.
This is the second time Mr Gassama is being arrested and detained as he was earlier held for 185 days at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul and released on 3 September last year.
As reported earlier, the CRR rice farmers’ cooperative president was re-arrested on Saturday, 23 April, 2016, by plain clothes officers at around 1pm at his home in Dasilami and taken to the Brikamaba police station and later transferred to Janjanbureh prison, according to a family source.
The family source indicated that they still do not know why Mr. Gassama is re-arrested by the security agents, adding that his motor bicycle is presently parked at the Brikamaba police station.
Mr. Gassama was elected unopposed as president at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the rice farmers’ cooperative held in Brikamaba on 5 January 2012. He was arrested on the 2 March 2015, the very day when officials from the Sheriff Division of the high court came to Lower Fulladu District to execute the order of a judgment delivered on the 12 January 2015 in favour of Mr. Gassama and his newly elected committee, who are the plaintiffs.
However, Mr. Gassama’s detention at the remote prison at Janjangbureh is in violation of Section 19 Subsection (3)(b) of the constitution of the second republic which states that “Any person who is arrested or detained… who is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court and, in any event, within seventy-two hours”.