Rights organizations urge Gambia to free journalist

International rights organizations have urged Gambia's government to free an ailing journalist and drop all charges against him.

The groups say Taranga FM Managing Director Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay has been arbitrarily detained since July 2015 without access to a lawyer or his family. Ceesay was charged before in August with six counts of sedition and publication of false news.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday Ceesay has been hospitalized twice this year. A United Nations working group last week called for his release and enforceable right to compensation.

The organizations also called on Gambia to amend laws that give authorities sweeping powers to arrest and detain critics.

President Yahya Jammeh's rule since 1994 has been marked by accusations of rights violations.