By Amie Sanneh
We have been publishing a summary of the stories that we published in
2015. So far we have covered disappearance without trace and detention
without trial (whether the detainee has been released or not).
In the last edition we started with summaries of Foroyaa stories on high
profile cases in 2015. Some of the cases have been concluded or
withdrawn but others are still on; some of the convicts are still in
prison while others have been pardoned.
We continue from where we stopped.
Taranga FM Manager Dragged to Court, Remanded
Abdoulie Ceesay, Managing Director of the Sinchu Alagie based Taranga
FM, was on August 4, 2015, arraigned at the lower court in Banjul and
charged with a single count of “Seditious intention” contrary to
section 51 (1) (d) of the Criminal Code, laws of The Gambia.
However, Mr. Ceesay has denied any wrong doing and was consequently
remanded and denied bail.
He was denied bail by Justice Simeon Ateh Abi of the Banjul High Court
on 19 August, 2015. He was also indicted by the prosecution on six
more charges of ‘Sedition’ and ‘Publication of false news’
On Tuesday, 25 August, 2015, he 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. His trial continues.
On Thursday, 17 December, 2015 the court refused the application of
the defence to expunge the testimony of Fatou Drammeh, a protocol
officer under the office of the president, who had earlier testified
as second prosecution witness (PW2) but was not available for
continuation of cross-examination after several proceedings. The case
has been adjourned till 28 January 2016 while the accused remains
remanded in custody.
Babylon Alkalo’s case struck out after two weeks in remand
Mr. Lamin Jarju, Alkalo of Babylon in the Kombo North district of West
Coast Region, was arrested and remanded at the state central prison
in Mile 2 for a fortnight.
A source told Foroyaa that Mr. Jarju was arrested on the 27 August,
2015 after being charged with a single count of ‘Disobedience to
Lawful Order.’ He denied the allegation against him.
Mr. Jarju was denied a court bail and was subsequently remanded.
He was later granted bail on Monday 14 September 2015 after spending
two weeks in remand following indictment by the state on one count
charge. The presiding magistrate Hilary Abeke of the Brikama Magistrates’
Court finally granted the accused bail when the prosecuting officer,
Touray did not make any objection to the bail application filed by the
defence counsel. When the matter was considered by the court the
purported order which he allegedly disobeyed could not be produced and
the case was struck out by the magistrate.
It could be recalled that Mr. Jarju was among the 13 inhabitants of
Babylon settlement who were charged with multiple counts, including
‘arson’, and in which he and two others were eventually convicted by
the lower court in Brikama. He was later released after paying the
fine but had spent at least 3 months in jail on other counts.
Magistrate Jaiteh discharged, sacked
Mr. Jaiteh was arraigned in camera (within closed doors) at the
Brikama Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 charged
with abuse of office and negligence of official duties. This came
after he spent 3 nights in detention at the Police headquarters in Banjul
following his arrest and handing over to the serious crime unit.
Family sources link his arrest to a decision he had taken in court by
transferring the matter to Bundung Magistrates’ court on the basis of
After his arraignment, he was granted bail by the Brikama magistrates’
court in the sum of D50,000 and the case was adjourned till 25
However, the single charge preferred against the removed Magistrate
was dropped during proceedings held in camera on Thursday, December
03, 2015 presided over by principal magistrate Hilary Abeke.
Meanwhile in interviews with Foroyaa, senior lawyers maintain that the
Constitution gives magistrates, judges and other adjudicators immunity
and it is wrong for them to be arrested, detained or prosecuted for
the decisions they make.
Mr. Ebrima Jaiteh was also removed from the judiciary following his
release from detention at the Police headquarters in Banjul.
No reason was given. “I was not told about the reason of my dismissal
but I was told ‘thank you for your services you have been rendering,”
the sacked magistrate remarked.
State withdraws all 5 Charges against the Kartong 33
The Brikama Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 granted
the prosecution’s application for the withdrawal of all the five count
charges against the 33 alleged protestors who are natives of the
coastal town of Kartong, in Kombo South, West Coast Region.
The Magistrate Hilary Abeke had on 24 November, 2015 denied bail to 33
young people, including one woman and an 18 year old boy, from the
coastal village of Kartong in Kombo South District in the West Coast
The 33 youth were indicted on five counts of misdemeanor,
prohibition of conduct conducive to the breach of peace, riot,
malicious injuries and riotously interfering with vehicle/vessel. All
the accused persons had pleaded not guilty.
Sheikh Cham Charged with Obstruction, Granted Bail
Mr. Sheikh Cham, a resident of Kombo Lamin and a staff of the Social
Security and Housing Finance Cooperation (SSHFC), has been finally
arraigned before Magistrate Colley of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court
on Monday, 8 June, 2015 and charged for obstructing the narcotic
officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) before
being granted bail in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dalasi (D50, 000.00).
The prosecution concluded their case and the defence have
expressed their intention to file a motion of “no case to answer.”
Sheikh Cham was arrested and detained by the NDLEA and he alleged that he
was beaten by his arrestors.
Waa Juwara acquitted & discharged
Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara, the former Minister for Local Government,
Regional Administration and Traditional Rulers was on 11 May 2015
acquitted and discharged by the lower court in Brikama of a single
count of ‘Abuse of Office’ on the ground that he has all the mandate
to appoint and dismiss any Alkalo (village head) for wrongful conduct.
The trial Magistrate, Mr Ebrima Jaiteh, ruling on ‘No Case to Answer’
said the accused person is empowered by the Constitution of the
Republic of the Gambia and that prosecution has failed to establish a
prima facie case against him.
However, his case together with Hamidou Jallow, Ex Principal Evaluation
officer at the Department of Lands and Survey and Tamsir Onasis Conteh
at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court is still in progress. Mr Juwara
concluded his testimony and the trial is adjourned till 2 February
2016 for addresses.