Sait Matty Jaw, a Gambian blogger, social activist and an advocate for women’s and girls’ rights detained since Nov. 5, 2014 has been released without charge. Reports had emerged that students were planning mass demonstrations to demand the immediate release of Jaw, whose arrest has attracted substantial condemnation on social media.
A history lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG), Jaw was reportedly picked up at the university grounds in Brikama by the operatives of National Intelligence Agency, who neither denied nor confirmed arresting him.
Online petitions and the Free Sait Matty Jaw Facebook page saw an outpouring of anger at his arrest from students, friends and fellow activists in The Gambia and abroad. Under Gambian law it is illegal to detain anyone for more than 72 hours without charge.
Omar Sambou, president of the University of The Gambia Students Union wrote on their Facebook page:
Alhamdulila, As said earlier, the Union and in constant consultation with the Administration and the Family of our beloved brother Sait Matty Jaw has been on the dialog. Sait is back home. I humbly thank you all for your understanding and patience. For those that have been insulting me based on your feelings i still beg for your forgiveness and never mean to hurt anyone. Thanks for your concerns. Lets all remember that for the Gambia our homeland, we strive and work and pray that all may live in unity, freedom and peace each day.
Sam Phatey, a Gambian social justice activist rejoiced over the release of Jaw and called for more efforts toward securing freedom for all political detainees and prisoners:
Confirmed! Sait Matty Jaw has been released now according to a close family source! FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!! Sait Matty Jaw is FREE AT LAST!!! #HopeIsYou The fight continues – Free Momodou Sabally, Free Amadou Sanneh, Free Alhaji and Ebou, Free All Political Prisoners.
Sait Matty was arrested alongside two others (an unnamed Ghanian and Nigerian). It is not clear whether the two have also been released.