By Modou S. Joof
“Imam Baba Leigh is not ready to talk to the media until Monday” says Omar Jallow (OJ), who has been speaking on behalf of the family ever since the cleric was taken into custody for unexplained reasons.
“Imam Leigh have been incommunicado for five months, he is not that okay to face the media,” the leader of the Peoples Progressive Party, PPP, told FPI sources on Saturday. “We have to sit with him first in order to guide him. He also misses his family and love ones.”
The Gambia Government on Friday released the venerable Imam and human rights activist after holding him for almost half a year without charge.
The outspoken Baba Leigh was picked up by the country’s National Intelligence Agency, NIA, on December 3, 2012. The government had earlier denied holding him.
On May 10, 2013 State TV broadcast his release from state custody. Imam Leigh appeared weak.
His release followed a joint statement issued exactly a week ago by the United States Embassy and the British High Commission in Banjul, which states that “the U.S. and U.K. continue to be greatly concerned about the welfare and safety of Imam Baba Leigh”.
They said: “We urge the Government of The Gambia to act in accordance with its laws as well as its international obligations.
“We call on all concerned to provide lawyers, family members, and international observers’ access 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”.
Prior to his ordeal, Imam Leigh had criticised the President Jammeh-led Government of The Gambia over the killing by firing squad of nine death row prisoners in August 2012.