Human rights advocates watching Gambia are worried that abuses against perceived dissenters will rise as the November presidential election nears, killing any chance of a free and fair poll. Already the official campaign period - the only time opposition parties are given access to the media and allowed to actively campaign - has been shrunk to 11 days from four weeks, sparking concern among political leaders.

The former Gambian minister of Information who went missing in June has been found in one of the country’s jails after the police had denied knowledge of his whereabouts. A French news agency quoted Gambia’s police spokesperson Yerro Mballow of not being aware of the minister’s arrest and 'no idea where former he could be'. However, Justice Ministry officials confirmed that Mr Amadou Scattred Jannenh was being held in jail awaiting trial for treason and sedition.

The world is pleading for two Gambian journalists who could face capital punishment for distributing T-shirts that call for an end to dictatorship in their country. Last month the high court in Gambia charged Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh and Mr Matthew K. Jallow with treason in a country where the death penalty is very much alive. The pair are presently in exile in two different West African countries. If the regime succeeds in roping the two journalists back home, they are most likely to be killed more

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on 22 July 2011 joined Amnesty International-Ghana, Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiatives (CHRI) and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) to mark Gambia’s descent into tyranny. Over the years Amnesty International and its global partners including MFWA have been marking this so-called 'Freedom Day' annually with various campaign events to continue highlighting the grave human rights violations to the world for action.

Gambia feted the 17th anniversary of a coup by President Yayha Jammeh on 22 July as his regime faced allegations from rights bodies of muzzling journalists, killings and torture. Jammeh seized power in Gambia on 22 July 1994 in a bloodless coup from predecessor Dawda Jawara, and the anniversary is typically feted with more pomp than independence day celebrations. Rights bodies have accused the 46-year-old leader of creating a climate of fear which has terrified journalists and rights more