The story of Pa Modou Bojang
Gambian Journalist forced to seek asylum in the UK
It gives me great opportunity today to seize this moment to write this piece about myself and my situation!
My name is Pa Modou Bojang, I was born on the 16th of February 1975 in the West African Commonwealth nation of The Gambia. I was born in the traditional town of Brikama in the western region of The Gambia. I have three children, Sarane 7, Smasidine 4 and Fatou Bojang 2. In Gambia I worked as a journalist on both radio and newspapers.
I was the manager of the banned Yiriwa Community Radio station in Brikama, Gambia. After being detained in Gambia for expressing my political beliefs, I fled to the UK as a place of safety to claim asylum in 2009. I fear that if I am sent back to my home country of Gambia, I will face imminent death or torture in the hands of the state, because simply of being a vocal journalist in both written and electronic media.
Over the years, I have written extensively about the dismal practices and exploitive system of governance in the Gambia, writing passionately and openly about my political values and beliefs, while I worked for the Yiriwa Community Radio in Gambia. I have continued as a journalist here in the UK by writing with the US Freedom Newspaper for 11 months and taking part in radio broadcast with the Kensington Vision FM Online. I also contribute to various online newspapers in the US.
The Freedom Newspaper is an online-based newspaper reporting on the latest political situation in Gambia and other stories of public interest across the world. As an independent news organization, it is committed to defending press freedom, good governance and democracy on Gambia. The group strongly advocates its devotion to “zero tolerance of censorship” and political patronage. This involvement puts me even more at risk if forcibly removed.
By now, the publicity behind my case is being closely monitored by the regime back in The Gambia, and the regime could be salivating in anticipation of laying their hands on me right at the airport.
I have a real and genuine fear and threat that I will be killed or harmed if returned to Gambia. Since 2006 journalists in Gambia, like me, are routinely subjected to daily harassment, torture, unlawful arrests and detentions, unfair trials and in certain cases, forced exile out of fear for our lives. The prevailing climate of fear and the continued violations of the right of freedom of expression raise profound concerns over the rights and freedoms enshrined in international instruments that should be afforded to all citizens.
Journalists in Gambia are naturally considered enemies of the state as we disagree of being praise singers. I also believe that as a member of the fourth estate, it is our responsibility to create awareness through information to the mass there, it is always against this background that the president of the republic, one time branded us as the illegitimate sons of Africa.
I claimed asylum in September 2009, a month after my arrival in the UK and in January 2010 my claim was refused by the UKBorder Authority. In March 2010 I appealed against the decision of the Home Office at the tier tribunal, the immigration judge also refused and denied me in all grounds, including humanitarian protection. In July 2010 I was arrested and detained at Oakington Immigration detention centre waiting for my deportation. My flight was only cancelled after the High court accepted my injunction. I am now granted in country right to appeal at the immigration tribunal, which will be in late December or early next year in January 2011. I have hired private solicitors to handle my case, which cost me 1500GBP, reasons why I am having a fund raising gig at the CASA PUB on Hope Street in January 28th to meet the legal cost.
For more information, please click www.jamano.wordpress.com or join my Facebook, firstname.lastname@example.org or “Prince M Bojang” to be member of the group “Save Pa Modou Bojang from deportation”
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