Taranga FM Manager’s Case Deferred

By Mamadou Dem

The case of Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the Managing Director of Taranga FM radio, yesterday failed to proceed before Justice Alhaji Abdoulie Ceesay, Manager Teranga FMMuhammed Dan Azumi Balarabe of the high court in Banjul due to the absence of the counsel for the accused.

When the case was called for continuation of hearing, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Hadi Saleh Barkum, announced his appearance for the state and told the court that the witness was in court and they are ready to proceed. He, however, intimated to the court that he had received a message from Barrister Combeh Gaye Coker that one of her sons was sick and could not make it to court and is therefore appealing for an adjournment.

DPP therefore urged the court to adjourn the case to the following day (today) at the instance of the defence and consequently the matter was adjourned by the trial judge.

Mr. Ceesay was dragged to court on 4th August on a single count charge of seditious intention for allegedly distributing pictures of President Yahya Jammeh which shows a gun being pointed at the his image. Prosecutors alleged the accused used his mobile phone and distributed this image to one Zainab Koneh and Fatou A Drammeh. He, however, denied any culpability. The lower court in Banjul denied him bail. Dissatisfied with the court’s verdict, his team of lawyers filed a motion at the high court seeking for his release on bail which was also quashed by the superior court.

The state chief prosecutor had earlier urged the court not to grant bail to the accused as the offences he is alleged to have committed are very serious and if found guilty he may be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Defence counsel Gaye Coker at the last sitting, reminded the court again that she has a pending application for bail before the it which is seeking for the release of the accused. She submitted that she was served with an affidavit in opposition by the DPP while in court, even though she had earlier served the DPP on an earlier date and was ready to move her motion.

The presiding judge, however, considered her submission and asked for the parties to move their motions on September 7 when the case resumes.

The new bill of indictment filed by the state chief prosecutor before the high court alleges in counts two, four and seven that Mr. Ceesay had intent to excite disaffection against President Yahya Jammeh and distributed a seditious phrase to wit read: “The sniper 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. Please be at your homes for your safety. Signed by sniper 3 {sic}.”

Counts one, three, five and six are similar to the initial charges before the magistrate court in Banjul, except the publication of false news which also read as those of counts two, four and seven.