The removal of the names of 13 April 14 arrestees from the charge sheet may be the beginning of the answer to the clarion call for the April 14 and 16 incidents to be seen as politically motivated events deserving political solution rather than legal prosecution.

It is not clear what is meant by writing to promise not to engage in demonstrations. If charges are removed against a person, it is simply removed and one does not appear before a court.

Many people will fear writing such letters unless they are guided by a letter so that what they write would not be utilized to prosecute them. In this case, the State has announced that it has discharged them based on a private contract outside the province of the court. No State will have self respect by breaching its private agreement. They should not however rely on this as a precedent to deal with the rest of the cases. It does not mean that those who did not write have any intention to break any law if they are released or discharged.

One has to attend the current court cases regarding the two incidents to realize that the arrestees are posing no defence. Instead of the presumption of innocence, what exists is presumption of guilt and eventual conviction as Ousainou Darboe constantly hammers in court: “I wish to reiterate that I have absolutely no doubt that this proceeding has been done in such a way to accelerate our pre-arranged conviction”.

We have repeatedly said that an act provoked by conscience should not invoke criminal liability, especially when the event which sparked reaction is still a mystery – the reported death of Solo Sandeng.

This point should be fixed in the minds of the authorities. This is why it would be virtually impossible for justice to be seen to be done in this case, even if the judges abide by the technicalities of justice.

The judicial system and judges who should be ambassadors of justice would be best served if these cases do not proceed. This we humbly state without prejudice. It is a fact that no one would dare to contest. We stand to be challenged.