Christmas behind bars?
Two British Christians are looking at spending Christmas behind bars in Gambian prisons.
The west African state of Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest countries, with a population of only 1.7 million. It doesn’t generally have the reputation of a human rights hotspot and is not the focus of international attention.
But a recent Amnesty report exposed the country as a place where “fear rules”. It is controlled by a President who tolerates no criticism and does not hesitate to order judges to imprison those he perceives as a threat.
So Mr and Mrs Fulton, Christian missionaries who have lived in the country for 12 years, have been charged with sedition for reportedly writing letters to people overseas “with intent… to bring into contempt… the government of Gambia.”
60 year old David, originally from Ayrshire, is being held in a high security jail where conditions are known to be very bad. His 46 year old wife Fiona is detained at a police station in the capital Banjul.
Their arrest was shocking enough and their being charged has seriously distressed their friends and family. They are unlikely to get a fair trial. The situation is very worrying.
British consular officials are assisting the couple. Amnesty is monitoring the case and will continue to press for reform in Gambian to end the President’s interference with the rule of law.
This kind of abuse is what the Universal Declaration was drawn up to bring an end to. We still have some way to go.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.