This statement was published on www.jed-afrique.org July 29, 2019.
Press Freedom Organisations Demand Prosecutions of Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh for Killing of Journalist, Mr. Deyda Hydara
Journaliste en Danger (JED) joins the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), of which it is a member, to call on African and world leaders to take immediate action to bring to justice former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh for the 2004 murder of Mr. Deyda Hydara, former president of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) and publisher of The Point, an independent Gambian newspaper.
Lieutenant Malick Jatta told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) at a public hearing in Banjul on 22 July 2019 that the journalist had been assassinated following direct orders from erstwhile President Jammeh in what was dubbed “Operation Magic Pen.”
He said the late captain Tumbul Tamba, who commanded the hit squadwas communicating with the ex-president during the operation.
Lieutenant Malick Jatta and two other army officers, Alieu Jeng and Sana Manjang, were part of the squad that shot and killed Mr. Hydara on December 16, 2004 on the orders of President Jammeh.
Given the urgency and seriousness of these revelations, AFEX calls on regional and international bodies, in particular the Economic Community for Wes African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to put pressure on the government of Equatorial Guinea to immediately extradite former President Jammeh back to The Gambia as a first step towards bringing him to justice. The extradition of former Gambian President will be a strong signal to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
AFEX also urges leaders of ECOWAS and AU to work with relevant UN bodies and mechanisms to launch international investigation into Mr. Hydara’s murder in order to identify all those involved in the execution of this heinous crime and the roles each of them played and ensure that they are brought to justice.
Finally, AFEX urges the Gambian government to refrain from granting any amnesty or immunity to any of those involved in Mr Hydara’s murder, including former President Jammeh.