By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, Managing Director of Taranga FM Radio, on Tuesday, 25th August, 2015, pleaded not guilty to the fresh charges of sedition and publication of false news preferred against him by the state at the high court in Banjul.
Prior to Mr. Ceesay’s plea of not guilty to the new charges, his defence attorney, Combeh Gaye Corker, raised an objection to the new charge sheet on the grounds that it was duplicitous. The court, however, dismissed her objection and ordered the accused to enter his plea.
Mr. Ceesay, who was earlier arraigned at the lower court in Banjul on a charge of seditious intention, is currently being tried before Justice Simeon Abi of the high court on six counts of seditious intention and a count of publication of false news, contrary to laws of The Gambia.
The Taranga FM Manager was earlier denied bail by the lower court in Banjul when he was arraigned on August 4 before Principal Magistrate Momodou S.M. Jallow, prompting his lawyers to file a court bail before the said high court judge but which was also dismissed despite the fact that the offences he is alleged to have committed were all bailable offences.
As his lawyers were trying to secure his bail from the high court, the state came up with a fresh indictment even though the earlier charge was still pending at the lower court to which the trial magistrate has insisted not to withdraw unless the prosecution furnishes the court with confirmation that indeed a new indictment was before the high court. The magistrate consequently adjourned the matter to 1st September..
The managing director of the SinchuAlagie-based Taranga FM community radio was dragged to court on a charge of seditious intention for allegedly distributing pictures of President Yahya Jammeh showing a gun pointed at his image. Prosecutors further alleged that he used his mobile phone and distributed it to one Zainab Koneh and Fatou A. Drammeh.
Mr Ceesay, however, denied any culpability. He was denied bail by the lower court in Banjul. Dissatisfied with the lower court’s verdict, his team of lawyers filed a motion at the high court seeking for his release on bail which was also dismissed by the superior court.
The new indictment filed by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Saleh Hadi Bakun, allege in counts two, four and seven that Mr. Ceesay had intent to excite disaffection against President Yahya Jammeh, by distributing a seditious phrase to wit read: “The sniper is hereby advices all citizens and non citizens to stay at their homes on Wednesday the 22nd of July, 2015 as our struggle to kick of the dog, begins that very day and we are capable of doing anything and it might start from the celebration ground.”
Taranga FM manager pleaded not guilty to the fresh charges.
By Mamadou Dem