A Gambian court freed six journalists on bail on yesterday pending their trial for sedition because of a statement criticising a lack of press freedom in the West African state.
The arrests of a total of nine journalists over the past week, all of whom have now been released, drew condemnation from media watchdogs and increased the unease of Western donors over human rights in the country of 1.8 million, reports Reuters.
The magistrate adjourned the case against seven journalists charged with sedition until July 7. One of the groups had already been given bail.
Those charged with sedition include three members of the Gambian Press Union, 2 reporters from The Point Newspaper and 2 journalists working for Foroyaa Newspaper and 1 of the journalists for The Point.
The journalists were held after the Gambia Press Union issued a statement that was critical of the government’s treatment of journalists, especially after the unexplained killing in 2004 of veteran reporter Deyda Hydara.
The court was packed with supporters of the journalists, who cheered when they were freed on bail.