Maryland Woman Detained in Gambia Returns to US

by: The Associated Press
/ (Bill Green/The Frederick News-Post via AP) /
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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A Maryland woman imprisoned last year while visiting her native Gambia is back with her family in the United States.

Fanta Darboe Jawara is being held in Gambia’s notorious Mile 2 Central Prison while husband and children Sarah, 12, left and Aminata, 17, anxiously await her return to their Frederick, Md. home. Jawara, 45, a naturalized American citizen, had returned to her homeland for the first time in 11 years for a family reunion. Just as she was getting ready to head back to her husband and girls in Frederick, she was caught in a sweep of arrests at a government protest in Banjul, Gambia’s capital. (Bill Green/The Frederick News-Post via AP)
Fanta Darboe Jawara was being held in Gambia’s notorious Mile 2 Central Prison while husband and children Sarah, 12, left and Aminata, 17, anxiously awaited  her return to their Frederick, Md. home. Jawara, 45, a naturalized American citizen, had returned to her homeland for the first time in 11 years for a family reunion. Just as she was getting ready to head back to her husband and girls in Frederick, she was caught in a sweep of arrests at a government protest in Banjul, Gambia’s capital. (Bill Green/The Frederick News-Post via AP)

News outlets report that Fanta Jawara arrived at Dulles International Airport on Thursday night, embracing her husband and daughters and greeting a crowd of supporters. She says she’s “happy to be home.”

Jawara is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Frederick. She and 17 others were sentenced to three years in prison after their arrest on charges of unlawful assembly, conspiracy and incitement to violence during an April anti-government protest. Jawara contends she was a bystander.

She was released on bond in December after strongman ruler Yahya Jammeh lost the presidential election to Adama Barrow.

Jammeh stepped down Jan. 21 after a tense political standoff, clearing the way for Jawara’s return.

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