A prominent Gambian political activist based in Sweden Abdoulie Touray, has been arrested by the Swedish police, awaiting to be deported to his native country, The Gambia, after his political asylum claim was refused, the Freedom Newspaper can report. Mr. Touray feared being harmed if forcefully deported to The Gambia. He wants the Swedish authorities to reconsider their decision and allow him to stay in the country.
Mr. Touray has been a strong critic of dictator Yahya Jammeh. He has participated in Freedom Radio Gambia radio programs, in which he criticized the dictator’s tyrannical rule.
His arrest was brought to our attention by his Swedish woman Anneli Degen. Ms. Degen, in an email to this medium said Abdoulie Touray has been arrested and was at the risk of being deported to The Gambia, a nation Touray himself said he feared being harmed by if deported there.
” Hi, my name is Anneli Degen. I am Abdoulie’s wife. Abdoulie talks on your radio and he has been arrested by the police in Sweden. My English is not good. I hope you understand my message. I am worried about his safety if deported to The Gambia,” Ms. Degen said.
Ms. Degen also provided Mr. Touray’s cell number to us so that we can call him up to confirm the story. When contacted Abdoulie Touray confirmed that he was indeed under the custody of the Swedish police.” I have been detained by the police. I filed for an asylum and my asylum application was denied. Banka Manneh, a political activist based in the United States wrote an affidavit for me in support of my asylum claim, but the Swedish Immigration said they are not convinced about my story. You remember I called on your radio (Freedom Radio Gambia) in the wake of the mile two prison executions to deplore the actions of dictator Yahya Jammeh. I have been calling Freedom radio talking about the injustices taking place in The Gambia. I have been reliably informed that I risked being arrested if I land in The Gambia because of my political activities overseas,” Mr. Touray said.
According to Mr. Touray, he has lived in Sweden for the past nine years without any police record. He also said he has been working as a cleaner without breaking any laws. He considers Sweden as his new home.
“My passport was seized from me. The two years residency that the Swedish government gave me was also revoked because they said my passport has expired. On that basis, I was called to report to the police station. Now I have been detained. I am at the risk of being deported to The Gambia, where I risked being killed by the dictator if forcefully deported,” he said.
Mr. Touray said his Swedish woman was supposed to file papers for him to facilitate his stay in Sweden, but the authorities in Sweden have insisted that in order for Touray to secure his residency, he must travel to The Gambia to wait for his papers. But Touray said such a move might tantamount to committing suicide, pointing out that he cannot travel to The Gambia as far as dictator Yahya Jammeh is in power.
It is part of Swedish law requiring migrants, who want to settle in their country through fiancée petition, must return to their native countries to wait for the processing of their residency paperwork. Under the circumstances, Touray said he is some kind of stateless because the dictator might use his security agents to arrest him if he ventured into travelling into the country.
Various Freedom Radio Gambia callers on our popular Tuesday news analysis program from Sweden, Germany and elsewhere around the world warned that it would be suicidal for the Swedish authorities to deport Abdoulie Touray to The Gambia.
” It would be wrong idea or decision to deport Touray to The Gambia. His case has now reached the authorities in Banjul. Freedom Radio Gambia is widely listened to. He should be allowed to stay in Sweden. He should try to convince the authorities to reconsider their decision,” said one of the callers.
Mr. Abdoulie Touray used his interview with Freedom Radio Gambia to appeal to the Swedish authorities to stay his deportation. He said he has been a law abiding resident since his arrival in Sweden nine years ago.