The Point (Banjul)

8 January 2013

Gambia: U.S 'Greatly Concerned' Over Detention of Imam Baba Leigh

The United States said Monday it is "greatly concern" about the welfare and safety of Imam Baba Leigh of the Kanifing Estate Mosque, who was picked up from his house since 3rd December 2012 and yet to be seen by family members.

In a statement issued by the US Department of State through its Embassy in Banjul, the US government "urge the Government of The Gambia, the residence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, to act in accordance with its responsibility as a standard bearer on matters of political freedom, civil liberties, and due process of law, as well as its international obligations."

"We call on all concerned to provide access for the family to Imam Baba Leigh and to treat him fully in accordance with the laws of The Gambia and the accepted norms of international human rights," the US government said in its statement, which is also posted on its Facebook page.

According to the US government statement, as a leading Islamic scholar, Imam Baba Leigh is a frequent and esteemed interlocutor of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Department of State.

"The Gambia's National Intelligence Agency allegedly detained him on Monday, December 3 for reasons unknown. Imam Baba Leigh remains unaccounted for and the Government of The Gambia has denied his family the opportunity to visit him," the statement added.

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