Exiled Gambian journalist wins asylum status

The National Union of Journalists’Glasgow branch has helped win asylum status for Gambian journalist Alieu Ceesay.

The news comes four months after the branch won a three-year battle to secure the same status for exiled Cameroonian journalist Charles Atangana.

Ceesay was forced to flee The Gambia after being ‘detained, tortured and repeatedly threatened by government agents”, according to the NUJ.

He was working as a senior journalist and parliamentary reporter when he was accused by the government of passing information to foreign media and institutions which were considered ‘enemies of the state”. He fled to the UK and with the help of the Glasgow NUJ branch and Amnesty International

Since settling in Glasgow, Ceesay has founded the UK Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia, worked as a journalist, researched human rights abuses in his home country and organised events highlighting the plight of detained journalists.

“I would like to say thank you very much to my union, the NUJ, to other campaign organisations, to Amnesty International, to my lawyer Jamie Kerr and to parliamentarians,’he said.

‘I wouldn’t have been able to get it done without you. I really appreciate you giving up your time and efforts to help me. I can’t thank you enough. Your support won’t be forgotten.”

Chair of the NUJ Glasgow Branch John Matthews added: ‘Delegates at this year’s NUJ delegate meeting got the opportunity to meet Alieu Ceesay and his family and heard Alieu speak about human rights abuses in Gambia as a journalist, Alieu’s liberty and life were both under threat and he had to flee.

‘In exile Alieu has continued to campaign against human rights abuses and continued to come under threat.

‘Following on from Charles Atangana winning his case this is our second victory for Glasgow-based asylum-seeking journalists and I am immensely proud of the part played by the NUJ and, in particular the Glasgow Branch, in demonstrating our commitment to justice, human rights and journalism.’

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