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World Press Freedom Day 2020 – Portraits of Gambian Journalists

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World Press Freedom Day 2020 During Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh’s rule from 1994-2016 the Gambian press suffered mercilessly at his hands. Journalists were gunned down, disappeared, tortured, and threatened. Media houses shuttered and radio stations burned to the ground. But stalwart voices kept the flame alive, speaking truth to power. _ As part of our long-term documentation of ‘Gambia-Victims & Resisters’ of the Jammeh regime, here are some portraits of those who fell foul of regime, but kept fighting. _ 1.Lamin Fatty – Independent Newspaper, “I went through hell. It was horrible. I was electrocuted. They took me out of my cell to the backyard where they’d dig a hole, and buried me half way, and shoved a gun in my mouth and threaten to kill me”. – 2. Honorable Madi M.K Ceesay – journalist and National Assembly Member. “I was tortured twice by the Jammeh’s team with the use of wires, gun butts as well as using an electrical device…” – 3. Malick Mboob – Daily Observer, arrested in 2006 “I was beaten with sticks, military boots and they beat me mercilessly – and I was crying for help and bleeding profusely,” recalls Mboob “They eventually stopped beating me when I pretended I was dead.” – – 4. Mr Pa Modou Faal and six other journalists were arrested in 2009 by the former regime in connection to reaction press release issued by the Gambia Press Union about former President Yahya Jammeh’s remarks about the slain journalist Deyda Hydara- murdered by Jammeh’s hit squad in a drive-by shooting. – – 5. Pap Saine – The Point, In 2010, Saine was named a World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute. Saine described the award as a morale-booster and "an inspiration for journalists who are fighting for freedom of the press and the interests of justice, democracy and human rights not only in the Gambia but in all of Africa". I 6. Threatening messages sent to Taranga Radio journalist , Alagie Ceesay. _ _ #Portraits4PositiveChange #worldpressfreedomday2020 #GambiaPressUnion #yahyajammeh #Jammeh2Justice #theGambia #AmnestyInternational #HumanRightsWatch #CPJ #committeetoprotectjournalists #deydahydara #westafricajournalist #reduxpictures #reduxreps

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Instagram: World Press Freedom Day – Portraits of Gambian Journalists ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow Testifies Before the TRRC, The Gambia

Fatou 'Toufah' Jallow testifies before the TRRC about being raped by ex-president Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio
Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow testifies before the TRRC, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio


“The most powerful man in the Gambia, who am I for anybody to listen to, to believe me, and where do I say this, and when do I say it? What do I expect is going to happen?

This did not happen…this did not happen…this did not happen…BUT, that is what happened on the night Yahya Jammeh raped me, and how he did it” – Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow testifies before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, The Gambia

Young Gambian men watching Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow testify before the TRRC on TV in a bar in Kololi, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio

#IAMTOUFAH

Fatou 'Toufah' Jallow testifies before the TRRC about being raped by ex-president Yayha Jammeh, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio
Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow testifies before the TRRC, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PositiveChange


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GAMBIA: Top Leader in 1994 Coup Testifies before the TRRC. Image ©Jason Florio/JusticeInfo.net

Image © Jason Florio - The Gambia, Edward Singhateh, former Defense Minister, testifies before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Oct 2019.
In a much-attended hearing before the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, former military junta number 2, Edward Singhateh, admitted to having ordered several executions. “It was wrong and I’m sorry,” he said. Image © Jason Florio for JusticeInfo.net

“IT WAS WRONG AND I AM SORRY” Edward David Singhateh

Former Defense minister Edward Singhateh admitted ordering the execution of several soldiers on November 11, 1994, in his much-awaited testimony yesterday October 17 before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, in The Gambia. A former n° 2 of the military junta, he asked for forgiveness while denying several other accusations…

“Isn’t it convenient that you are always there but you never did it?” asked Lead Counsel, TRRC, Essa Faal.

“Sir, I did not shoot,” replied Singhateh.

“You see, what I am doing is to show your strategy: ‘Oh I was there, my people participated but I did not.’ You are trying to seal yourself from responsibility.”

“As a marksman, Sir, I still hold a record of sharp-shooting in the GNA [Gambia National Army]. If I wanted to kill, none of the people would have escaped. They were running in a straight line.” 

Read the full feature by Mustapha K. Darboe / JusticeInfo.net

#NeverAgainGambia

Edward Singhateh swears, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – The Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, Oct 2019, The Gambia. Image ©Jason Florio

Prints on exhibit at the TRRC

‘Portraits4PositiveChange’ ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Edward Singhateh begins his testimony before Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, Oct 2019, – The Gambia. Image ©Jason Florio


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Victims of Sexual Gender-Based Violence – TRRC, The Gambia

Victim of sexual violence, Bintu Nyabally, testifies at Gambia's TRRC. Bintu was raped by two masked security men whilst in police custody. Image ©Jason Florio
Victim of sexual violence, Bintu Nyabally, testifies at Gambia’s TRRC. Image ©Jason Florio

 “No, this was done to me, and I want
justice…these men should be punished” Bintu Nyabally, victim of sexual violence whilst in police custody

The Gambia, West Africa, October 14th, 2019 – Bintu Nyabally, gave her testimony to the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Bintu was arrested on 9th May 2016, after leaving the court hearing of Ousainou Darboe, a member of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), in Banjul. She was attending in solidarity for her uncle, opposition activist and UDP member, Solo Sandeng, who was beaten to death whilst in police custody in April 2016.

Gambia – victims, and resisters

During her detention, Bintu said that she was raped by two different security officers, wearing masks. When we met her in December 2018, to make her portrait, and film her testimony, we asked her if she would prefer that we disguise her identity in the photograph. Bintu’s adamant response was, “No! this was done to me, and I want justice… these men should be punished!

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Victim of rape and beatings by Gambian security forces, The Gambia - portrait by Jason Florio
Bintu Nyabally – portrait ©Jason Florio. From the series ‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters

The TRRC is an independent Gambian institution mandated to conduct research and investigations into human rights violations committed under the presidency of Yahya Jammeh. The Commission further aims to prevent a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered under the past regime by making recommendations to government and citizens aimed at ensuring the crimes of the past never recur in The Gambia. TRRC Homepage

Memorial march for victims of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio
Peaceful march for victims of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa, 2018 © Jason Florio

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