The Editor-In-Chief of The Voice newspaper, Musa S. Sheriff, and freelance journalist Sainey M.K. Marenah have been arrested by the police and detained at the Sanyang Police Station, Kombo South District of the West Coast Region.
Both have been charged with “giving false information to a public officer” over a story titled “19 Green Youths Defect to UDP” published by the paper on its edition of December 9, 2013.
The officers, who came to the offices of The Voice in Serekunda on Monday January 13, 2014 at around 8am, waited for Mr Sheriff till he arrived at around 11am.
They demanded two copies of the paper (of stories titled: “19 Green Youths Defect to UDP” and “Tanji APRC deny 19 Green Youths defection to UDP”). After a brief discussion, the officers asked for the author of the story (freelance journalist Sainey M.K. Marenah) but he was not available at that moment.
By 12pm, they decided that the editor (Mr Sheriff) go with them. He was taken to the Sanyang police station – where he and Mr Marenah are being detained over night. Mr Marenah reported to the station after he was called by the police.
Their colleagues at The Voice and The Gambia Press Union visited the police station to secure their bail but there was no offer of bail from the police. The officers said they received a directive from the President Yaya Jammeh.
In the story “19 Green Youths Defect to UDP”, The Voice, a privately-owned English-language newspaper reported UDP claims that the die-hard supporters of the president joined the main opposition party during a UDP youth gathering at Tanji, Kombo South District, West Coast Region. In the paper’s subsequent edition on December 11, 2013, it reported that “Tanji APRC deny 19 Green Youths defection to UDP” in which supporters of the APRC ruling party dismissed the claims of the opposition UDP.