State admits death of Solo Sandeng

By Rohey Jadama

The state has admitted that Ebrima Solo Sandeng has died in the “process of arrest and detention”. Solo Sandeng 2

This was revealed in a high court judgment on the harbeas corpus case of Solo Sandeng yesterday 28 July, 2016 when the trial court referred to the affidavit of the NIA Director of operations, Mr Jeng.

Justice Eunice O. Dada of the Banjul High Court in her judgment did dismiss the Habeas Corpus case of Ebrima Solo Sandeng filed on his behalf by his Attorneys for the production of his body dead or alive.

When the case was called Lawyer A. Fatty held briefs for Lawyer Lamin S. Camara and Lawyer Binga D announced his representation for the state.

Delivering her judgment Justcie Dada, said the application of the Habeas Corpus was brought by a way of an originating summons. She said counsels for the applicant in their affidavit in support of the application asked for the body of Ebrima Solo Sandeng to be immediately produced before the court, dead or alive.

She further said that the affidavit indicated that Solo Sandeng and some youths on the 14 April, 2016 went to Westfield to protest, that they were arrested and that some of them were taken to court; but that no reason was given by the state why Solo Sandeng was not charged when he is in fact in the custody of the state.

Regarding the response of the respondent state

In response to the affidavit of the applicant, Justice Dada said the state (respondent)  filed a 21 paragraph affidavit in opposition deposed to by Sheikh Omar Jeng, Director of Operations at National Intelligence Agency(NIA).

She said the Mr Jeng said Solo Sandeng unfortunately lost his life in the whole process of arrest and detention; that government has setup a commission to investigate his death. She added that the respondent state exhibited the death certificate of the applicant indicating that the primary cause of death is ‘shock and secondary cause of death is Respiratory Failure’.

Justice Dada said Counsel A.A .B Gaye said the respondent having admitted that they detained the applicant beyond 72 hours shows that they disregarded the constitution of The Gambia and he urged the respondent to produce the body of the applicant and produce more facts surrounding his death.

She said Counsel Gaye said if in fact the applicant died in custody a coroner’s inquiry should be done; that the court has power to order for the production of   the applicant’s body   and for a coroner’s inquiry to be done.

In concluding her judgment, the judge said.“I have looked at the application before me and the prayers sought, this court cannot extend its ambits outside of this jurisdiction and make an order for the production of Ebrima Solo Sandeng. This application is incompetent and is hereby dismiss ”, ruled Justice Dada.