ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS IN 2015
The position of the Constitution on arrest and detention is quite clear. In the first place there must be reasonable grounds of suspicion that a person has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence before arrest is effected. But this is not all, to prevent impunity to show its ugly face, the Constitution provides under section 19 that a person arrested must either be released or brought before a court within 72 hours. However this provision of the Constitution is treated with disregard by the executive and many persons were detained beyond the 72 hours limit in the course of 2015.
The following detainees who were arrested and detained for more than 72 hours contrary to the requirements of the constitution regained their freedom in the course of 2015.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PETROLEUM MR SHERIFF FAYE was finally released without charge after being held for two months in detention at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul. According to reports Mr Faye was held at NIA since 14 July 2015.
- EDRISA TOURAY, the “Alkalo” of Sambouyaa village in Kombo South, West Coast Region, was arrested at his residence and detained at Gunjur police station on Wednesday, 21 January, 2015.
Mr. Edrisa Touray together with ten others from different communities in the same district were released on bail on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at Brikama Magistrates’ Court after being detained for six days at various police stations. They were at the Brikama Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham charged with felony and obtaining one million dalasi by false pretence.
The accused persons are Ousman Touray, Ousman Bojang, Karamo Touray, Malick Camara, Edrisa Touray, Satou Silameh, Momodou Bajo, Momodou Fatty, Muhammed Lamin Jabang, Kutubo Fatty and Yankuba Jabang.
Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Minister for Presidential Affairs under the APRC government, who was undergoing trial, was arrested again on Friday, 5 June 2015, between 5pm and 6pm and detained.
Former SG Sabally, who was on court bail, was standing trial for alleged economic crime at the criminal division of the high court of the Gambia presided over by Justice Emmanuel Amadi. Media reports indicated that Mr Sabally was released and his case withdrawn.
MOMODOU LAMIN GASSAMA, the Project Director of the Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project was arrested on Wednesday, 27 May, 2015 by the NIA at his residence in Jambur Jarri Kunda (Sinchu Giddon).
According to the source, Gassama came home on Wednesday but was picked up by plain clothes officers at his home on the same night.
Gassama, who was in detention for 68 days, was released on the 26 July, 2015.
LAMIN CAMARA THE PRINCIPAL OF DEMFAI SCHOOL in the Sami District Central River Region was arrested on Friday, 18 December, 2015 by the Bansang Police.
According to sources, Mr Camara was arrested while transporting some donated materials.
However, Madam Jainaba Drammeh, wife of Principal Camara, told Foroyaa that her husband was transferred from Bansang Police Station to Janjangbureh Prison in the Central River Region on Tuesday, 24 December, 2015. On Wednesday 28 December 2015 appeared before the Brikamaba Magistrates’ Court charged with broadcasting without a licence and false publication. He was remanded in custody and remained a remand prisoner till the year ended on 31 December 2015.
8 Banjul Residents were released after 7 days at NIA detention. The 8 men and women who were arrested from their respective homes in Banjul and detained were released around 4 pm on Monday, 7 December, 2015 after being detained at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters for 7 days without charge or trial.
ALHAJI KEBBA TOURAY, who runs a clearing and forwarding agency, was released on the 26 July 2015. He is said to have been sick and bed-ridden at the time of his arrest, and held incommunicado at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul. A close family source indicated that the reason for his arrest and detention was not known to them.
This is the second time Mr. Touray has been detained without trial and released. The first was in 2009.
NINE STAFF OF THE FISHERIES DEPARTMENT AND MINISTRY were on Thursday, 22 January, arrested and detained at the Police Headquarters in Banjul.
The reason for their arrest was not known.
When the Foroyaa reporter visited the Police Headquarters Conference hall, he
discovered that Dr. Bamba Banja, the Permanent Secretary at the
Ministry of Fisheries, and Mr. Nfamara Dampha, former Director of
Fisheries, were among the eight officials under police custody. Dr. Bamba Banja on 5 February, 2015 appeared at the Banjul High Court and was granted bail by Justice Simon A. Abi. The rest also appeared in court and were granted bail.
FIVE AGRIC OFFICIALS, who were earlier granted bail by the high court, were re-arrested and detained by the police on Wednesday, 1 July, 2015 after Magistrate Momodou S.M. Jallow denied the police request for them to be remanded.
The said officials are Mr. Fafanding Fatajo, Mr. Burang Danjo, Madam Ada Gaye, Mr. Bakary Kujabi and Mr. Omar Jammeh who were reported to have been picked up between 6 pm and 7 pm and taken to the Kairaba Station from where they were later transferred to police headquarters in Banjul.
The President of the Central River Rice Growers’ Cooperative, HARUNA GASSAMA, was arrested on Monday 2 March, 2015.
This development arose following a court order which ordered Alhagi Musa Gimbo Trawally and his committee to forthwith hand over the affairs and assets of the Rice Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd to the duly elected Executive of the Rice Farmers’ Cooperative Society Ltd (Haruna Gassama and his committee) and further give a true and proper account of the financial state and assets of the Rice Farmers’ Cooperative Society Ltd.
Mr. Gassama was later released on Thursday, 3 September, 2015 after being held for 185 days incommunicado at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul.