Re: Mariam Denton – Lawyer
To: Captain (retd.) Alhaji Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, President and Minister of Defence and others
From: Cara E.I. Gibbons, Barrister and Solicitor, LRWC member
LRWC has received information about the release of Mariam Denton this past July 25th after being detained without charge since April 6, 2006. LRWC welcomes the release of Ms. Denton; however, we remain strongly concerned about allegations that Ms. Denton was detained solely for carrying out her legitimate professional activities as a lawyer. LWRC is further concerned that the detention of Ms. Denton will dissuade other lawyers from representing clients charged with treason, thus preventing such accused from exercising their right to counsel and impairing their ability to obtain a fair trial.
In order to protect the right to a fair trial guaranteed by article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 24 of the Constitution of the Second Republic of the Gambia and article 7 of the Banjul Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, it is essential that lawyers be permitted to exercise their professional duties without fear of interference from state agents.
LRWC calls on the Government of the Gambia to take swift and effective action in the spirit of the African Commission’s 1999 Dakar Declaration and Recommendations on the Right to a Fair Trial in Africa to ensure that the accused in the current treason proceedings are afforded their right to legal representation and that any lawyers representing them are protected. LRWC respectfully requests your early response by mail, e-mail or fax to advise of your actions on the above mentioned matters, as LRWC will be monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.