The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: GPU Asks for Justice for Deyda Hydara

The Gambia Press Union, GPU, has once again called for an investigation into the death of Deyda Hydara.

In a statement to mark the 8th anniversary of the former Point managing editor's death, the GPU issued the following statement:

"Sunday, December 16 2012 will mark the eighth anniversary of the gruesome murder of Deyda Hydara, the heroic co-proprietor and managing editor of The Point newspaper. He was assassinated in a drive-by shooting. Yet the gunmen behind this nefarious act are yet to be arrested and brought to book.

The Gambia Press Union once again calls on the Government of The Gambia to expend all its efforts and tools to investigate this matter in order to bring the culprits to book. Failure to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book will only entrench a culture of impunity in our society, which is inimical to democracy.

It is the responsibility of the Government to protect the right to life of all Gambians as enshrined in Section 18 of the 1997 constitution, which states, 'No person shall be deprived of his or her life intentionally of right to life except in the execution of a sentence of death imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in respect of a criminal offence for which the penalty is death under the Laws of The Gambia as they have effect in accordance with subsection (2) and of which he or she has been lawfully convicted'.

Section 18 subsection 2 states, 'As from the coming into force of this Constitution, no court in The Gambia shall be competent to impose a sentence of death for any offence unless the sentence is prescribed by law and the offence involves violence, or the administration of any toxic substance, resulting in the death of another person'.

Thus the Government of the Gambia should move heaven and earth to bringing these criminals to book as this barbaric act has no place in a civilized democratic society.

The murder of Deyda is a fundamental human rights violation that goes against the very essence of our constitution and all regional and international instruments that The Gambia has ratified. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, hence the responsibility to ensure justice prevails and the protection of human rights in our society lies squarely in the hands of the Government.

Given the fact that the Gambia Government has several progressive allies in the world, we recommend that the Government should solicit support from the international community to enable her to unearth the truth.

It should be noted that journalists like all other sectors and professionals are legitimate and have a right to contribute their quota to national development. We serve a crucial role not only in bringing the state closer to the citizenry, but also in promoting the creation of an open society where democracy and good governance flourish.

The accomplishment of our crucial role would be hard to come by when rogue elements in society who negate the work of journalists enjoy the fruits of impunity

The killers of Deyda Hydara must be brought to justice now!"

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