20 December 2012

Gambia: Supreme Islamic Council President On the Arrest and Detention of Imam Baba Leigh

Photo: Facebook
Imam Baba Leigh, jailed in the Gambia by the regime of Yahya Jammeh.

Foroyaa has been making efforts to talk to Muslim religious personalities on the situation of the Imam of Kanifing East Estate mosque, Imam Baba Leigh, who could not lead his congregational prayers on two Friday prayers because of his arrest and detention since the 3 December 2012. This reporter visited the head office of the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) to know from its President what the body is doing to monitor the predicament of one of their Imams.

Imam Momodou Lamin Touray, the President of the Supreme Islamic Council, in a brief interview, told this paper that his Council had already convened an executive meeting on the matter to investigate and conclude on what might have led to the arrest of Imam Leigh and his subsequent detention. Imam Touray said they have started an investigation and that the members of the Council are currently visiting different places so as to get correct information on the matter. He added that at their meeting they even asked if anyone of them has information as to why the Imam was arrested but that none of them is in the know. He said as at now they have not yet received any information from any quarter as to the reasons for the arrest and detention of Imam Baba Leigh.

Asked whether they have contacted the authorities on the matter, the Supreme Islamic Council President said they are still on their investigations and would expect to come up with detailed information by next week.

It could be recalled that Imam Baba Leigh was arrested on Monday, 3 December, between the hours of 2100hrs to 2200hrs by two officers claiming to be personnel of the National Intelligent Agency (NIA) and was taken to Banjul, as revealed by family members of the Imam. He was initially kept incommunicado without access to his family or lawyer. This restriction was at one point briefly eased as reported by his family. However, he is not being accessed now by his family and his whereabouts are also not known. He is not charged or brought before a court of law. This disappearance is a cause for concern.

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