By Mustapha Jallow
Following the high court order for his conditional or unconditional release on Monday, 21 March, 2016 after his family filed a writ of habeas corpus, Imam Alhagi Ousman Sawaneh of the Kanifing South mosque is still held incommunicado for 306 days at Janjangbureh prison in Central River Region (CRR).
When this reporter visited the family home of the detained Imam Sawaneh yesterday, 17 August, to enquire about his situation, a close relative confirmed that he is still being held without access to his loved ones.
He disclosed that since the Imam’s arrest and subsequent detention 10 months ago, none of his relatives was allowed access to see or talk to him.
On what happened after the court ordered for his released, he said “The authorities have asked us to bring some documents for him to be freed and which we did, but they told us to go and that he would be released soon thereafter but up to today he is still languishing in the prison.”
Imam Sawaneh was picked up by unidentified men in civilian clothes around 10 am on Sunday, 18 October, 2015, while leading a team of volunteers to clear the grass in the Kanifing South cemetery. His whereabouts were not initially known to the family but he was later traced to the NIA headquarters in Banjul. He was later transferred from the NIA to Janjangbureh Prison on the 27 October, 2015.
The family source said they were hoping for his release immediately after the court order but which was dashed. They were also expecting for his release before and during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which again failed to materialised.
They family is therefore renewing its call for the release of the Imam in accordance with the court order