The new Gambian government has started paying families of two journalists who were victims of Yahya Jammeh’s reign of terror as declared by a sub-regional court, Daily news has confirmed.
The Community Court of ECOWAS, sitting in Abuja, Nigeria, has ruled that the former Gambian government failed to conduct a proper investigation into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara and ordered the state to pay US$50,000 to his family. The same court in 2008, also ordered The Gambia to pay US$100,000 in compensatory damages to the disappeared journalist Ebrima Manneh, or in his absence, to his family.
Now, according to the Ghana-based rights body, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) the Gambia has started rolling out payments to the families of the two journalists.
“There has been a major breakthrough in efforts to secure reparation for journalist victims of Yahya Jammeh’s reign of terror as the new government in The Gambia has paid 50% of the compensations to the families of two of the victims, Chief Ebrima Manneh and Deyda Haydara,” MFWA revealed in a statement.
“The initial 50% payment of the compensations is in fulfillment of commitments made by the Adama Barrow-led government following discussions between the families of the victims, MFWA and the Gambia Press Union (GPU).”
Speaking to Daily news, the eldest son of the slain editor, Baba Hydara confirmed the half payment of what he called “court’s reward” to the Hydara family by the Barrow government.
He clarified that the money was not actually compensation but rather a reward from the court to the family for winning the case against the Jammeh government which had failed to properly investigate Hydara’s murder. He said the present government promised to pay the second half later, adding: “it is really good that the Barrow Government respects the court’s decision.”
Deyda Hydara, who was co-founder and editor of The Point newspaper, was shot and killed on 16 December 2004.
The compensation package for the third high-profile victim, Musa Saidykhan, is however, still being worked out between the government and the journalist.