Demand Release of Imam Imprisoned For Speaking Out Against Execution of Prisoners

Target: Numo Kujabi, Director of Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency

Goal: Release the wrongfully imprisoned Gambian Imam and human rights advocate, Baba Leigh.

Security forces have held Gambian religious leader Imam Baba Leigh without charge since early December of 2012. He was very vocal in condemning the executions of nine inmates in August. For his outspokenness, the Imam was imprisoned. Call upon the Director of Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency to release this wrongfully imprisoned man.

The prisoners’ executions were carried out in secret and without informing families, lawyers, or respective governments before they took place. The bodies have still not been returned to their families or their burial sites made known. Imam Baba Leigh spoke out about the executions, calling them ‘un-Islamic’. He called for the return of the bodies of those executed and has continued to rail against the government’s death penalty policies in his sermons.

Eyewitnesses reported that officers arrested the Imam around mid-morning and claim that the officers provided very little information besides that they wanted to question Imam Baba Leigh at their headquarters. Unfortunately, he has not been seen since. The National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the group holding Imam Baba Leigh, said that they have no information about the whereabouts of the controversial leader. None of his family has been allowed to visit him, let alone a lawyer. This goes against the Gambian Constitution, which guarantees that a prisoner has the right to be brought before a court of law within 72 hours of being arrested. The Gambian NIA is also in violation of numerous international human rights laws.

Sign this petition to demand that Gambia immediately disclose the status of Imam Baba Leigh and allow him contact with his family and a lawyer. Gambia must do what it can to ensure the basic human rights of its citizens. If Imam Baba Leigh is not to be charged with an internationally recognized crime, then he must be immediately and unconditionally released.



Dear Numo Kujabi, Director of the National Intelligence Agency,

I ask that you immediately clarify the legal status of the Imam, Baba Leigh. By holding the Imam without charge and without counsel, you are in direct violation of the Gambian national constitution as well as numerous international human rights laws. Arresting Imam Baba Leigh for speaking out against human rights abuses in your country only reinforces the image of Gambia as a country that does not obey the international regulations that it has agreed to follow.

Gambia must do what it can to ensure the freedom of expression and human rights of all its citizens. Immediately and unconditionally release the Imam Baba Leigh so that Gambia may prove itself as a protector of human rights.


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Photo credit: Stefan Gara via Flickr

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