Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Latest update on the Fultons

Over the weekend, contents of a letter sent to the Gambian president by imprisoned British couple, David and Fiona Fulton, was broadcast on Gambian state television, publicly apologizing and asking for clemency.  Excerpts of some the emails that reportedly got them into trouble have also come to light.  In my opinion, from what I have read, the email's contents certainly demonstrated questionable judgment in some incidents and I can understand why they were viewed in a poor light by the Gambian president.  However, I still contend that arresting someone for having a questionable sense of humour and poor judgment is hardly worth being detained, fined, and sentenced to hard labour.  It is also clear that there is no way that the Fultons would have ever received a fair trial when their own lawyer is quoted as telling the Sunday Telegraph last Friday that his client was a "fantasist" and called the emails "appalling".  With defendants like this, who needs prosecutors?

The BBC also reported today that the couple's adopted two-year-old daughter is now with family in the UK.

Do continue to pray for their release and return to the UK.  Pray that the heart of the Gambian president will be moved to show clemency.  Yes, these folks are not perfect, but their actions in Gambia were hardly criminal.

5 comments:

Don Guizzetti said...

I am sorry to hear that there may have been some substance to the Gambian complaint against the Fultons. However, it seems that the punishment greatly exceeds the misdemeanor. This will in no way diminish or make less intense my prayers for their safety and release. This does serve as an unfortunate warning to anyone on a foreign mission or anyone contemplating a foreign mission that awareness and sensitivity to the societies in which we serve is critical.

Spark said...

I echo Don's comments above. It brings even more attention and light to my own questionable sense of humour and poor judgment and the effects that it has on the people around me. Not in the sense of pending punishment, which we know here is severe and unreasonable, but in the sense of the effect my words have on the world around me.
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!" Deut 30:19
Father, thank-you so much for your grace and mercy in our lives every day! They are new every morning! I ask that you pour out even more grace and mercy on your two loved children, David and Fiona. In Jesus Name.

Anonymous said...

I pray they are deported through the appeal process, if the UK consulate can talk them into exercising their right to it, and I pray they are on the first plane out or one supplied by the UK government.
Either serve their sentence in the UK under house arrest or make them pay the flight expenses and the fine. Let the church that sponsored them put up with their behavior.

Reminds me of Barbara Kingsolvers, "The Poisonwood Bible"

They need public and media pressure kept on for the next few weeks, like the woman bugging the judge in the bible until he dealt with her to get her off his back.

There are family reports most of his funding came from Canada. Any way to check that out Glenn?

I'm glad contents of the emails are finally coming out. We don't know if he has dementia, rage, mental illness or other issues, he can tour the UK fundamentalist independent evangelical churches and regal the gullible with his tales of martyrdom and persecution and leave the gun at home.

The Gambia let their adopted daughter leave the country, that is a show of good faith and a testament to the FO efforts. I've no doubt they've verified the emails. There are 69 emails full of tall tales, mockery and paranoia.

I think they need a legal team which is capable of getting them immediately deported while giving Mr Jammeh a way out he doesn't perceive as threatening. (This is a dictator who based the countries AIDS policy on a dream he had where he says his dead mother gave him instructions) He kills his own people, wants to (and probably does) kill homosexuals, why would foreigners or gun toting mocking Christians be exempt?

I don't believe their apology, I believe they made it to save their lives. But it doesn't matter what I believe, I do hope they are released and sent home for good.

"A two-year-old girl the couple brought to their court hearing with them was described as their adopted daughter Elizabeth. But their lawyer, family members and friends say she is actually the product of an affair Fiona had with a Gambian soldier.

"But Fiona's 80-year-old father Peter McMinn said at his home in Teignmouth, Devon, yesterday that the marriage had been 'under some strain' due to her pregnancy.
He added: "David is not Elizabeth's father."

a) The UK High Commissioner called him in and told him to stop strutting around in uniform
b) Claims of heroic helicopter mission were nonsense
c) Bought a £10,000 river cruiser for river trips to convert Muslims

David Fulton was never a British army major, never served time for armed robbery. He was a labourer. The British High Commission told him to stop lying and impersonating, stop driving a Land Rover with military plates and stop fooling the Gambia people and army. He didn't. A good friend says the birth of the little girl repulsed him and he took it out on the Muslim community. (The real father was someone he knew in the Gambia army)

The UK has asked him to stop acting out, he says when he gets out in September (if not sooner) "September will soon come and then we'll talk plenty."

The child is safe in the UK, their other children are safe (been in UK since 2006). Their older daughter is supposedly pregnant.

Legitimate Christian organizations in Gambia can make their own decisions on whether leaving is a choice given the rapid and extensive deterioration of the country.
Catholics and Methodists at least have back up, training, experience, oversight and controls.

Jammah wants to keep power having survived 6 coups, and to remain the latest dictator; the international political community can deal with his choices with economic and political sanctions.

Do you receive reports of other missionaries in The Gambia being persecuted or charged?

The Fulton story makes sense now, kudos to the FO and High Commission for getting to the bottom of this.
Both are reported ill, again to their advantage, one more reason to deport them.

Fulton is supposedly putting finishing touches on his book: 'Army officer to armed robber, to missionary to prisoner once again.

The organization he supposedly worked for and wrote to is Christian charity Prison Fellowship International.

Thank you for keeping the Fulton story updated.

Bene D

Anonymous said...

PS: If you are so inclined take a look at the Westhoughton Church UK Charity filing for 2007. UK Charity No 1052531

The donations to the Fulton dropped significantly after the birth of the little girl in the UK. 2007 filing 2006 filing. It appears they paid Mrs. Fulton's flight to give birth in the UK, but it's far less than the year 2006.

Bene D

Glenn Penner said...

I have no idea how we would check up on where they got their support from. This is certainly a tragic affair and demonstrates the need for accountability in ministry. These folks really should never have been allowed to remain in ministry, if these reports are true (I am still waiting for other sources to confirm them).