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Gambia – Prosecution Delays Fulton Appeal Against New Charges

ICC Note

David and Fiona Fulton are missionary couple from United Kingdom who are serving prison terms in West African country of Gambia . The Gambian officials are bringing additional new charges against Mr. Fulton. The couple had been successfully spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in the Muslim dominated country.

06/10/2009 Gambia (ANS)-The appeal by British missionary David Fulton against an additional conviction for forgery has been delayed after the prosecution failed to attend a hearing scheduled for Monday, June 1, and prison authorities failed to produce Mr. Fulton in court.

According to UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the hearing has now been adjourned until Tuesday, June 16. The presiding female Magistrate has also ordered the Gambian prison authorities to ensure Mr. Fulton’s presence at the rescheduled hearing.

“Mr. Fulton and his wife Fiona had initially received sentences of one year’s imprisonment with hard labor in December 2008, after pleading guilty to sedition on the advice of a lawyer, who claimed this would ensure more lenient sentences,” said a CSW spokesperson.

“At a subsequent trial Mr. Fulton was given an additional three years after pleading guilty to forgery in the hope of receiving the usual sentence of a fine.

“The Fultons ‘ are now appealing against their sedition convictions, and Mr. Fulton will also be contesting a new charge of impersonating an army official.”

Meanwhile, Christian Solidarity Worldwide has learned that Mr. Fulton has recently recovered from an illness brought on by 102 days of solitary confinement in a cell with no lighting, and no access to exercise. His prescribed hard labor duties now include climbing coconut trees, stripping their bark and physically carrying fifty kilogram (110 pound) bundles.

CSW has also learned that Mrs. Fulton has been put on lavatory cleaning duties. She is also reported to be unwell emotionally and physically, and to have clearly lost weight.

CSW’s Advocacy Director, Alexa Papadouris said: “For some time now CSW has been deeply concerned by the harsh treatment that David and Fiona Fulton have received, and by the political sensitivities surrounding this case that continue to impinge on the judicial process. We are also concerned at news of unnecessary delays in Mr. Fulton’s appeal against his recent conviction, and at reports of Mrs. Fulton’s poor health. It is vital that Mr. Fulton receives a fair hearing on June 16, that the Fultons ‘ previous convictions for sedition are urgently reviewed, and that Mrs. Fulton receives the medical attention she so clearly needs.”

For further information please contact Theresa Malinowska, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide via her email — theresamalinowska@csw.org.uk — or visit www.csw.org.uk.

CSW is a human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.