Gambia frees Muslim cleric after 5 months

Associated Press

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — The Gambian government says that it has released a Muslim cleric who had been in detention for five months.

The state Gambia Radio Television Services announced late Friday that Imam Baba Leigh was released by the National Intelligence Agency.

The outspoken Imam was taken away by plainclothes officers on December 3, 2012. Media reports linked his arrest with comments he made in August 2012 in which he described the executions of nine people carried out by the government as "un-Islamic."

President Yahya Jammeh's government faced mounting pressure from the international community as the Muslim cleric was regarded a prisoner of conscience by many human rights organizations. The United States and British governments called on Gambian authorities to release him.

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