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Posts Tagged ‘Gambia’

Update on Fulton Family in Gambian Prison

Posted by Rick on January 7, 2009

Here is an update about the Fulton’s; missionaries that have been arrested in Gambia:

U.K. Missionaries Sentenced to Hard Labor in Gambia

By Christopher Maiby
Epoch Times Staff

Two Christian missionaries in The Republic of Gambia in South Africa have been sentenced to one year’s hard labor after pleading guilty to distributing a letter criticizing Gambia’s government.

The U.K. couple, who have an adopted 2-year-old daughter, have 20 days to appeal against their sentence in one of Africa’s smallest countries.

Mr. David Fulton from Troon in Ayrshire, Scotland, and his wife, Fiona, from Torquay in Devon, England, apologized and admitted the sedition in the hope of a favorable verdict from the magistrate.

“Any lawyer will tell you if you plead guilty to a charge, the court is more likely to treat you with leniency because … you have not wasted the court’s time and … you have not put the state to the trouble and expense of having a full-blown trial,” their counsel told the BBC’s Focus on Africa.

However, the magistrate, Idrissa Mbai, said: “I found the offenses of the accused party to be very shocking and they have shown no respect for the country, the government, and the president of the republic.

“In this country there is a law that one has to obey, whether Gambian or non-Gambian.”

At the time of their arrest Mr. Fulton, a previous British army major, had been working as a chaplain to Gambia’s military. His wife looked after terminally ill people and visited women in their homes and in hospitals.

The couple met 20 years ago when he was serving a sentence for armed robbery in Channings Wood jail in England. She was a prison visitor talking to inmates about Christianity. They have been in Gambia for 12 years.

After their arrest on Nov. 29, Mr. Fulton was put in solitary confinement at the high-security Mile Two prison outside Banjul. His wife was held with their 2-year-old adopted daughter Elizabeth at a police station in the capital. The couple’s two other children, Iona, 20, and Luke, 17, are studying in Exeter, England.

After moving to the country with his wife and children, Mr. Fulton established a branch of the Christian organization Prison Fellowship International in The Gambia and worked in the Gambian prison system.

An article from Prison Fellowship International, in August 2004, states that a prisoner claimed Mr. Fulton was trying to convert prison inmates to Christianity. He was subsequently offered the post of chaplain to the Gambian military.

The country is a former British colony which became independent in 1965. It has been ruled by the same regime since 1994 when Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh claimed the presidency following a bloodless coup.

Despite recent elections being given clean bill of health foreign observers, an Amnesty report said, “Lawyers are reluctant to take on human rights cases for fear of reprisals and families of victims are afraid to speak out. The media, for the most part, censors itself in the face of arrests, fines, threats and physical attacks on those accused of criticizing the government. All public protests have ceased.”

The Fulton’s 2-year-old daughter will be looked after by friends.

Posted in Africa, Missions | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

British Missionaries Held in African Prison

Posted by Rick on December 8, 2008

This story from the the Telegraph in England:

David Fulton, 60, a former British Army major, and his wife, Fiona, 46, are being held in separate prisons.

Mr Fulton, originally from Troon, Scotland, is being held in a cell at the high security Mile Two prison just outside the capital, Banjul.

His wife and the couple’s adopted daughter, Elizabeth, aged two, have been detained at a police station in Banjul.

A family friend has said that Mrs Fulton, originally from Torquay, Devon, is being treated well, with police officers volunteering to go on errands to buy nappies.

However, there are concerns about her husband’s safety in a jail built in colonial times and noted for its “tough” regime.

According to some reports in Gambia, other prisoners held on similar charges have been poisoned.

The family friend, who has asked not to be identified for fear of being targeted by the Gambian authorities, said: “Fiona has been treated well, but we are not sure about David. We don’t think he’s fared quite as well. He’s not eating.”

The Fultons, who moved to Gambia 12 years ago to work as missionaries, have two other children, Iona, 20, and Luke, 17, who are believed to live in the Exeter arera.

Mr Fulton works as a chaplain in the Gambian Army and his wife looks after the terminally-ill and spends time visiting women in their homes and in hospital.

They were arrested last Saturday after police arrived at their house in the village of Kerr Sering, an hour’s drive from the capital.

Yesterday they appeared in court in Banjul to face charges of sedition. They were offered bail, but have so far been unable to meet the requirement of four Gambian property owners to vouch for them.

Although the country is constitutionally secular, the population is 90 per cent Muslim.

The friend said: “While we are free to speak out, in Gambia you cannot.

“As a chaplain part of David’s job is to provide comfort to all sorts of people: people high up, people low down, and people who have perhaps fallen out of favour.

“I don’t know of anything they have done that could be called sedition.

“Their whole focus has been teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The friend went on: “Sedition is a serious crime anywhere and the penalty would not be light.

“Obviously we are concerned. A lot of Christian people all over Britain and all over Europe are praying for them. We are just trusting the outcome will be good.”

Pastor Martin Speed, of Westhoughton Pentecostal Church in Bolton, Greater Manchester, said the couple had visited Christians at his church to talk about their work.

He emphasised that Mr Fulton’s work was not political, but said: “There does seem to be a growing difficulty of Christians in Gambia.”

The Foreign Office confirmed the arrests and said consular staff had been in touch with the couple.

I have visited Banjul, Gambia several times.  While the people are friendly to westerners, they are hostile to the Gospel.  Please pray for the Fulton family in this difficult time and that God will get all the glory.

Bro Rick

Posted in Africa, Missions, Prayer | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »