updated 10/8/2007 8:45:19 PM ET 2007-10-09T00:45:19

Two Amnesty International researchers and a Gambian journalist were released Monday, days after they were detained amid spying allegations, the reporter said.

Yaya Dampha, the journalist detained at the same time as the Amnesty workers, said the three were released but ordered to report back to the police on Tuesday.

Amnesty spokeswoman Eliane Drakopoulos identified the researchers as Tania Bernath, who holds U.S. and British citizenship, and Nigerian Ayodele Ameen. She said they were picked up Saturday.

The three had traveled to the town of Fatoto, about 150 miles from Banjul, to meet Ousman Jatta, a key member of the Gambian opposition who has been jailed for 13 months, said Dampha. The three were accused of spying, he said.

“Our detention demonstrates once again that the Gambian human rights record is getting worse,” said Dampha, a reporter for the opposition newspaper, Foroyaa.

Drakopoulos said the Amnesty workers were documenting human rights conditions in Gambia. They had entered the country legally and had informed Gambian authorities of their purpose, she said.

“We’ve been in contact with them through a lawyer. To the extent of our knowledge, they have not been charged” she said.

Gambia, a former British colony, is a tiny sliver of land surrounded on three sides by Senegal. Its President Yahya Jammeh, who grabbed power in a 1994 coup, has become increasingly isolated and intolerant of criticism.

Recently, a U.N. official in Gambia was declared a “persona non grata” and ordered to leave the country after she criticized Jammeh’s claim of having cured AIDS. Jammeh declared in January that he had discovered a cure for AIDS and began treating patients inside the presidential palace, using herbs and incantations.

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