By Mustapha Jallow
Alhagi Ousman Sawaneh, a religious leader at the Kanifing South mosque, is still being detained at the Janjanbureh Prison in the Central River Region (CRR) without access to his entire family members for 40 days now, a family source disclosed.
According to him, their father is still under detention and that if they go to the said prison and request to see him the prison officers would tell them that access to him is denied.
The family source added that they are still wondering why the Imam is being held as no one has ever told them the reason why he is detained incommunicado.
The family, however, continues calling on the authorities to release their loved one whose state of health, they said, is a matter of grave concern to them.
It was earlier reported that the family of Imam Sawaneh is seriously concerned about his situation which they say is affecting the family including the young ones. “We tried our best to get access to him but we were not even allowed to see him at his place of detention,” a distraught family member said.
His family took clothes and toiletries for him but the NIA agents refused to take them to him, while he was at the NIA.
Imam Sawaneh has been missing from public view but was later traced to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul. A family source disclosed that the Imam was transferred to Janjanbureh Prison in the Central River Region (CRR) since the 27th October, 2015.
The Imam was seen escorted by members of the NIA from their headquarters in Banjul to Brikamaba Police station, where they stopped and entered the station. It was also revealed that the said men later boarded their vehicle and took him to Janjanbureh prison where he is presently detained without charge.
Residents in his neighbourhood, who regard him in high esteem, expressed total surprise regarding his arrest and continued detention. “I was shocked when I received the information that the Imam is arrested, I could not do anything but just pray for him to be released from detention,” a neighbour told Foroyaa.
The continued detention of Imam Sawaneh is in contravention of the Constitution which stipulates in section 19 that upon expiration of 72 hours the detainee should either be released or taken before a court of law.
Reports indicate that Imam Sawaneh was picked up by unidentified men in civilian clothes around 10 am on Sunday, 18 October, 2015, while leading a team of workers to clear the grass in the Kanifing South Cemetery. He was later whisked away to an unknown destination. His family members searched for him and finally traced him to the NIA headquarters in Banjul.