The National Human Rights Commission has learned with grave concern the arbitrary arrest and the unlawful detention of one Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey by officers of the Gambia Police Force.

According to reports and information gathered by the NHRC, Nenneh Freda Gomez, the Country Representative of Global Hearts of Medical Mission (GLOBAL HOMM) and a staff of the same Mission, Lamin Sey, were initially arrested and charged with 2 counts of malicious injury to property and criminal trespass by the Inspector General of Police. They were subsequently granted bail but the charges against them never proceeded before the courts. As a result, Ms Gomez filed a case before the High Court challenging the legality of her arrest. The High Court ruled on Wednesday 17th November 2021 and declared that their arrest and detention was unlawful and contrary to Section 19 of the 1997 Constitution.

Taking note of the High Court judgments in the matter, The Government of The Gambia is hereby urged to respect Court decisions/orders as required by law. The practice of arbitrary arrests is unacceptable in a democratic society, and certainly are a threat to respect for fundamental human rights particularly the right to personal liberty as well as the right to property which are guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution and other international human rights instruments ratified by The Gambia. Disregarding or refusing to enforce Court orders and judgment by primary duty bearers, especially law enforcement officers, is not only an affront to the independence of the Judiciary but also a great threat to the rule of law and good governance.

The NHRC hereby calls upon The Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to respect the rights and freedoms of Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey as guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution and to avoid actions that compromise the enjoyment of their human rights and freedoms. We hereby urged the Inspector General of Police to immediately and unconditionally release both Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey.

While the NHRC acknowledges the important role of law enforcement in the protection of life and property, their conduct should be in line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Law enforcers have an obligation to respect and fulfil the fundamental human rights of people, and to duly respect and enforce Court decisions and judgments

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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