This morning our good friends at Christian Solidarity Worldwide in the United Kingdom sent out an update on David and Fiona Fulton, the British missionaries in Gambia who have been accused of writing letters to individuals and organizations abroad to "bring into hatred or contempt, to excite disaffection against the President of the Republic and the government of the Gambia." The CSW report reads, in part:
As you are aware, Fiona was due to be transferred from a police cell to a prison where conditions could prove challenging, and had been separated from the couple’s baby daughter Elizabeth, who was being cared for by an elderly friend of the family. In addition, the couple was due to appear at a court hearing on Tuesday 16 December.
The relatively good news is that Fiona has been allowed to remain in a cell at Banjul Police Station, where conditions are significantly better than those she would have encountered in the prison. However, she is reported to be “struggling psychologically”, and remains deeply affected by the continuing separation from Elizabeth who, thankfully, is still being cared for by the family friend.
Unfortunately, David remains in solitary confinement in a 5ft by 5ft cell where a bucket serves as a latrine. He has not eaten since his incarceration on 4 December, and his visibly deteriorating physical condition at last Tuesday’s hearing, where he was described as “weak” and “going down hill”, is causing increasing concern,
At Tuesday’s hearing the trial was adjourned until 22 and 24 December, when the prosecution will present its case, along with several of its witnesses. This will be the first time the Fultons or their lawyer learn the full nature of the evidence against them. However, it remains unclear whether the couple’s lawyer will be obliged to mount a defence during the second of next week’s hearings, or whether, as has been suggested, the trial will be adjourned for a month in order to give the defence enough time to prepare its case. Either option is problematic. On the one hand it would be difficult to prepare an adequate defence in such a short timeframe. On the other, a further adjournment would affect David’s declining physical condition adversely, even endangering his life.
- Give thanks that Elizabeth remains in safe hands, and that Fiona has not had to face the difficult prison conditions.
- Continue to pray for David’s health and that God would comfort, encourage, strengthen and sustain him. Also pray that He would strengthen, comfort and restore Fiona.
- Pray that the case against the couple would be dismissed and that the family would soon be allowed to leave the country.
- Pray for the Fulton’s children and extended family members who are in the UK, that God would draw close to them and strengthen them at this difficult time.
- Pray for the Lord’s continued protection over those in the Gambia who are trying to assist the family, and for wisdom and success in ongoing advocacy efforts in the UK and in the Gambia on behalf of the family.
- Finally continue to pray for finances to cover the costs of the trial.
Please consider sending cards of encouragement to David and Fiona. However, please refrain from commenting on the trial, charges or prison conditions, and take great care to avoid writing any remarks that could be construed as critical of or offensive to the president, government or people of The Gambia:
Mr David Fulton
Mile Two Prison
Mrs Fiona Fulton
Central Police Station
Please uphold this couple in your prayers and do take the time to send this dear couple a card to let them know that they are loved and prayed for during this difficult time.