Saturday, December 4, 2021

NHRC Urges Government to Respect Court Decisions

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On Arrest of Nenneh, Lamin

By Nelson Manneh 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday, 22 November, 2021 urged Government to respect Court decisions or orders as required by law.  

The NHRC said this in a press statement where it was stated that they learned with grave concern, the arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention of one Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey, by officers of the Gambia Police Force.   

“According to reports and information gathered by the NHRC, Nenneh Freda Gomez, the country representative of Global Hearts Medical Mission (GLOBAL HOMM) and a staff of the same mission in the person of Lamin Sey, were initially arrested and charged by the Inspector General of Police, with two counts of malicious injury to property and criminal trespass. They were subsequently granted bail but the charges against them never proceeded before the Courts,” the release stated. 

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The Gambia’s rights commission further stated that Ms. Gomez filed a case before the High Court challenging the legality of her arrest, and the High Court ruled and declared on Wednesday, 17 November, 2021 that their arrest and detention was unlawful and contrary to Section 19 of the 1997 Constitution.

“Taking note of the High Court judgments in the matter, the Government of the Gambia is hereby urged to respect Court decisions or orders as required by law. The practice of arbitrary arrest is unacceptable in a democratic society, and certainly a threat to respect for fundamental human rights particularly the right to personal liberty as well as the right to property which is guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution and other international human rights instruments ratified by The Gambia,” the Commission stated.   

The Rights Commission further stated that disregarding or refusing to enforce court orders and judgments by primary duty bearers especially law enforcement officers, is not only an affront to the independence of the judiciary, but also a great threat to the rule of law and good governance.   

“The NHRC hereby calls upon the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to respect the rights and freedoms of Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey as guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution, and to avoid actions that compromise the enjoyment of their human rights and freedoms. We hereby urged the Inspector General of Police to immediately and unconditionally release both Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey,” the Commission stated in their press statement.

The NHRC said while it acknowledges the importance of law enforcement in the protection of life and property, the conduct of the Police should be in line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution; that law enforcers have an obligation to respect and fulfill the fundamental human rights of the people, and to duly respect and enforce Court decisions and judgments.

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