By Yankuba Jallow
The criminal trial of 13 persons from Kanilai at the Brikama Magistrates Court failed to proceed yesterday 4 July 2017. The new date set for continuation of hearing is 10 July 2017.
The accused were arrested in relation to a protest held few months ago in Kanilai, the hometown of former president Yahya Jammeh. The protest was against the purported maltreatment they received from the security forces stationed in and around Kanilai. These resulted to their massive arrest whilst some were forced to flee to neighbouring settlements.
The 13 accused persons were remanded in relation with the protest that occurred in Kanilai on Friday, 2nd June 2017 which brought a fracas between the indigenes of the village and Ecomig soldiers resulting in one death.
The accused persons are mostly men including two females and they were Ebou Beteng Sanyang, Ansu Jatta, Lamin Kujabi, Sambujang Badjie, Kaddy Badjie, Mamadou Jang Jallow, Awa Badjie, Ebrima Jammeh, Baboucar Tamba, Assan Jammeh, Cham Jarju and Saikou Omar Sanneh.
They are all charged on count one of unlawful assembly contrary to Section 70 of the Criminal Code of the Gambia in which they are alleged to, on or about the 2nd of June, 2017, have assembled in Kanilai and diverse places in the West Coast Region, with intent to commit offence by demonstrating without a permit from the office of the Inspector General of Police.
On count two, the charge is incitement to violence, contrary to Section 59 B (1) (a) (b) of the Criminal Code of the Gambia, by making statements calculated to bring death or physical injury to people on the same day.
In addition, they were also charged with prohibition of conduct, contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act, where they are alleged to commit themselves in manners likely to cause a breach of peace, by burning tyres and using provocative words against the members of the Ecomig and Gambia Armed Forces.
Furthermore, on count four they are all charged with rioting, contrary to Section 71 of the Criminal Code of The Gambia, where they are all alleged to have taken part in a riot against the Ecomig and Gambia Armed Forces.
Finally, on count 5 they are all charged with conspiracy to commit misdemeanor contrary to Section 369 of the Criminal Code of the Gambia, where they are alleged to have conspired amongst themselves to riot against the presence of members of the Gambia Armed Forces and the ECOWAS mission in the Gambia.
The trial Magistrate Omar Cham in his ruling on bail application held that each accused person should provide two sureties who will tender their National Identity Cards and pay five hundred thousand dalasi and that the accused persons should also tender their National Identity Cards. He gave warning that all the accused persons should refrain from any form of riot that involves a group.