Police have denied keeping Gambian-Canadian Alagie Sowe who was arrested last month after an altercation with traffic police. 

Mr Sowe’s wife had alleged that her husband was “illegally detained” for filming police officers who were painting a road. 

“My husband is being illegally held in The Gambia. His passport has been seized. He has lost his job. I am here taking care of the family while he is being somehow kidnapped in The Gambia by the police and somehow denied from leaving The Gambia. My husband is suffering from glaucoma. His medication is finished. He may end up becoming blind if he doesn’t have his medication. He is being held in The Gambia unfairly without any justified reasons,” Mrs Awa Faye Sowe told Freedom Newspaper. 

Police denied Mr Sowe was in their custody and that he was being treated unfairly.

“We wish to make it clear that Alagie Sowe is not in police custody. Furthermore, none of his documents are with the police,” the Gambia’s Police Force said in a statement.

“Mr Sowe was arrested when police were providing man power to mark zebra crossing at hotspots for accidents, and for safety reasons traffic had to be diverted for a period of time.

“Alhagie Sowe first questioned the reason for the diversion and was told, a road marking exercise was ongoing. He further questioned the authority for such exercise on the road. The police officers maintained that they were on a lawful exercise and he was accordingly adviced to go about his lawful business.

“Mr Sowe who seemed not satisfied then stopped his vehicle, started filming, and taking pictures. After several attempts to make him stop, he refused to heed to police advice.

“Mr Sowe was then arrested and charged with obstructing a police officer contrary to laws of the Gambia.”

According to the police statement, Mr Sowe was arraigned before the Brikama Magistrates Court where he took his plea of not guilty. 

He was granted bail in the sum of D25,000 with one Gambian surety who should produce his original biometric ID card which must be deposited at the court.

The statement added:” Additionally the court ordered that the accused should submit all his travel documents to the Registrar of the court pending the final determination of the case.

“The matter was then adjourned for ruling which could not be delivered due to the coronavirus pandemic as courts have temporarily suspended sittings.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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