Businessman still held contrary to Court order

By Kebba Jeffang

Yusupha Saidyleigh, a businessman, is still held in the custody of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) even though he was granted bail since 15 October, 2015.

Mr Saidyleigh was arrested virtually 7 months ago on 28 May 2015, to be precise. His continuous detention without trial motivated his wife, Kajie Maryam Ceesay, to file a writ of habeas corpus for Mr Saidyleigh to be brought before the high court. Although he was not brought before the court, the presiding judge, Justice Ateh Abi while ruling on the application on 15th October, 2015 said the continuous detention of Yusupha Saidyleigh by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), without bail is unconstitutional as it offends the laws of the Gambia.

He said, “It is hereby declared that the continuous detention of the applicant [Yusupha Saidyleigh] in the custody of the 1st respondent [the NIA] for over five months without trial or bail is unconstitutional as it offends section 19 (1), 19 (3)(b) and 19(5) of the Constitution of The Gambia. Bail is granted to the applicant in the sum of One Million Dalasis (D1,000,000), with one Gambian surety in like sum, the surety shall swear to affidavit of means and must be the owner of a landed property within the Gambia of a value of not less than one million dalasis which must be covered by a valid and a recognized document to title.

Speaking to Foroyaa on Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, family sources indicated that they have met all the bail conditions. However, their bread winner is yet to be released by the NIA since the court passed its verdict in October, 2015. They include an aging mother who strongly appealed to the authorities to secure the release of their loved one.

It is indicated in the affidavit sworn to by his wife that Mr Saidyleigh was arrested from his place of work in Bijilo by the NIA and taken to the headquarters of the NIA at Marina Parade, Banjul, and has been detained without charge since the date of his arrest.

The wife further stated in her affidavit that between the 28 and 31 May 2015, Mr Saidyleigh has not been questioned since the 31st May 2015. That since his arrest on the 28 May 2015 he has not been allowed to see any member of his family including his wife.

Mr. Saidyleigh, 45 years old, is a businessman by occupation. He has five children and three step children, most of whom are minors. He is the only bread winner of the family. He lives in Brufut in the Kombo North District, West Coast Region.