December 31, 2008
Gambian court sentences British couple
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BANJUL, Dec 30: A British missionary couple working in the tiny west African state of Gambia have been sentenced to one-year prison terms with hard labour.
David and Fiona Fulton who were arrested in Banjul on Nov 29, were also fined $9,325, after pleading guilty to charges of sedition or inciting resistance to lawful authority. They are the first foreign nationals to be slapped with a jail sentence for sedition in the African nation.
According to British media, the couple were critical of The Gambia, a popular African tourism destination for Britons, in a series of round-robin emails believed to be related to their Christian missionary work in the predominantly Muslim state. As the judge read out the sentences, the couple and some of their friends present in court burst into tears.
In a heartbreaking scene at the start of the ruling the judge ordered couple’s two year-old adopted daughter to be removed from the court because her cries of “Mommy, Mommy” were disturbing the proceedings.
The husband and wife missionary team had admitted to publishing emails with seditious comments with the intent to bring hatred or contempt against Gambia’s president or the government.—AFP