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Free our brother Sait Matty Jaw

This petition had 963 supporters

Sait Matty Jaw is one of the brightest young leaders and social activists in The Gambia today. He has befriended countless people across the globe and consistently crusaded for people in need everywhere. It is now OUR turn to give back and help him.

Sait is both a staff member and history lecturer at the University of The Gambia and is also a loved and well-respected social justice activist, specializing in youth and gender equality issues. He has over ten years of experience working with women, children, and other young people around the world, focusing on empowerment and policy advocacy. In particular, he has helped found numerous youth and student organizations (such as ‘Think Young Women’) and also served in many leadership positions throughout his life, including being a current 'Student for Liberty' representative. Sait is a community mobilizer, researcher, instructor, trainer, and facilitator in youth programs. He is also a blogger (https://dcampaigner., specializing on Gambian politics with a special focus on youth and women political participation, elections, and Senegambia relations.

On Wednesday December 10, 2014, our colleague, friend, brother, and teacher Sait Matty Jaw was unjustly re-arrested by The Gambian Authorities along with two others. His initial arrest and subsequent detention WITHOUT charges began on November 5, 2014 and lasted FOUR days over the 72-hour-limit as mandated by Article 19(3)(b) of the Constitution of The Gambia. As such, Sait's rights as a Gambian were already grossly violated by the Gambian Administration. In this latest arrest, the charges pressed include:

- Count 1: conspiracy to commit an offence;

- Count 2: carrying out the business of collecting data and failure to register the same;

- Count 3: disobedience of the Statistic Act; and

- Count 4: disobedience of the Single Windows Business Registration Act;

In reality, these charges all stem from a survey on “political governance and corruption” Sait had agreed to help with, which was being conducted by Gallup, Inc. in West Africa. While Sait was one of many other students/civil servants signed up to work with Gallup, the Gambia's National Intelligence Agency alleges that Sait was responsible for Gallup’s activities in The Gambia and had failed to gain proper clearance from the authorities prior to the survey’s introduction. Due to Sait’s attending of a United Nations-sponsored Global Forum in Azerbaijan, there was a delay in filling out this paperwork and Gallup volunteers were simply waiting for Sait’s return in order to start this process. Despite no data having yet been collected for the survey, upon his return to the Gambia, Sait was promptly arrested and detained. We believe this arrest to be politically motivated due to Sait’s previous social justice campaigns and also the specific content of this survey.

Sait is currently being held at Mile II Central Prison on the outskirts of the country’s capital. The Mile II Prison is one of worst in the world, known for its congestion, poor treatment of prisoners, and numerous human rights violations. Prisoners have died there from malnutrition and countless others have been tortured there. In November 2014, The Gambia refused to allow a United Nations team to investigate allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings at detention centres, in particular refusing the investigators access to Mile II.

All three individuals facing the charges above have continuously proclaimed they are not guilty, and we know Sait to be 100% innocent of these charges. Conducting objective research is NOT a crime. While Sait's defense firmly has the law on its side, he will need a strong legal team in order to beat these charges completely, the cost of which is well outside the scope of what him and his family can afford.

We DEMAND that the authorities release him from custody.

This effort "Friends of Sait" is an International Advocacy Campaign calling for the immediate release of our brother. You can help by doing the following:

1. Signing the Petition,

2. Sharing the Petition and inviting others to sign,

3. Writing a Post/Tweet or Social media message using the hashtag #FreeSaitMattyJaw

4. DONATING FINANCIALLY to our Legal Defense Fund for Sait at GoFundMe; Direct Link:

We can be reached at email: 

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