ILNews

Indiana lawyer helped reporter win in Africa

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2008
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A case where an African country's government was accused of kidnapping and torturing a journalist was decided on June 5 in favor of the reporter and his family.

Indianapolis attorney Dan Byron assisted the Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa, which filed the suit on behalf of Chief Ebrima Manneh.

Byron spent October and November in Africa and has remained in touch with the foundation's attorneys since then.

In what Byron called a "good day for human rights and press rights in West Africa" and "a solid win," this ruling marks the first such case to be heard by the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria.

"The regime of President Yahya Jammeh consistently denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the journalist, and has demonstrated gross disrespect for the ECOWAS court by refusing to cooperate throughout the proceedings," according to a release from the Media Foundation of West Africa.

The decision announced that Manneh's arrest and detention was illegal, and ordered Gambian authorities to release him. The court also awarded a total of $100,000 (U.S.) in damages to Manneh, to be paid by The Gambia government.

"Media Foundation for West Africa welcomes this decision by the ECOWAS court. We therefore call on The Gambia to respect and enforce the judgment in accordance with laid down procedures," the release stated.

Indiana Lawyer first reported about Byron's involvement with the West Africa Media Foundation in the Dec. 12-23, 2007, edition, "Advancing press freedoms."
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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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