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GAMBIA: MADI SAYS HE MAY PURSUE LEGAL RECOURSE IN ORDER TO RECOVER HIS PHONE FROM THE POLICE

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Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist, has stated that he may go to court to compel the police to return his phone.

Jobarteh, who was detained and released earlier this month, was required to report to the police yesterday.
The Westminster Foundation’s Gambian representative was released on a D100,000 bail bond with one Gambian surety.

The police have been holding his and his daughter’s phones for the past few weeks.

Jobarteh told The Standard yesterday shortly after leaving the police station, “The bail has been extended until November 9.” They refused to provide me with my phones. Instead, they requested access to my phone by asking me to hand it over. I informed them I would not answer my phone.
He stated that the country’s constitution guarantees property and privacy rights.

“Therefore, my phone is my property, and no one has the right to remove it without my permission. Furthermore, no one should interfere with or invade my privacy in my residence or in my correspondence, including my phone, without my permission or a court order. “Therefore, the police’s actions are unlawful, and I reserve the right to pursue legal action against them to ensure that I receive my phone back, and if they interfere with it, that they are held accountable,” he said.
Jobarteh stated that he told the police that his phone is extraneous to the investigation because the report in question was published in The Standard and is also accessible on his Facebook page.

You will be able to access it even if you are in Mongolia. Therefore, the phone has no bearing on the situation. I informed them that it was against the law for them to retain my phone and that they lacked the authority to require me to unlock it. Only a judge can make that determination, so they should return my phone, but they said they will retain it if I don’t open it. Therefore, my phone and my daughter’s phone are with them,” he said.

When asked if Gambians should be concerned, Jobarteh responded, “I believe we should be extremely concerned because for 22 years, the AFPRC and APRC regime under Jammeh subverted our constitution and laws in order to weaponize them in order to violate the rights of Gambians, and as a result, Gambians mobilized under the coalition to overthrow that dictatorship. If the police are inviting citizens to be questioned about their views on their president and government, then we are returning to the Jammeh era.

“There is nothing illicit, unlawful, or unconstitutional in my article. This article is a manifestation of my constitutional right to partake in The Gambia’s political affairs. In addition to my right to freedom of opinion and expression, this article is about my right to express my opinion regarding the performance of the state’s institutions, organs, and agents; every Gambian has this right. “Therefore, the police have no place in this debate; rather, the government, political parties, citizens, media, and civil society should engage in an open discussion,” he added.

He argued that his article is completely related to the president’s remarks that he will order the IGP to imprison citizens or political opponents who criticize him and that the country’s democracy is excessive. “His statements are now detrimental to our democracy because the president lacks the authority to command the IGP to detain anyone. These are the issues that I addressed in my essay, so if anyone has a problem with it, it should be the president himself, who has the ability to respond to my article,” he said.

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