Justice Minister Mama Singhateh

The state vs Ousainou darboe and 19 others  

The disgraceful conduct on Wednesday last of the Judge trying the case of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, we have to realize that this is a political case and not a legal case, and must be defended as such. The lawyers should not allow themselves to be confined to meaningless arguments about the criminal code. The judges are not independent and will only rule to please the government.

This is a political trial and the lawyers should  expose  the travesty that is taking place. We know that all attempts to persuade these judges will fall on deaf ears. We will recall  Mandela and his ten co- defendants faced a similar situation in the Rivonia trials of 1963/64. It was during those proceedings that Nelson Mandela delivered the famous statement ” the ideal of a democratic and free society … ..Is one for which I am prepared to die.” The defense lawyers should therefore not allow the case to be framed as a criminal matter.

It must be exposed and defended as a political persecution. It is the audience outside the courtroom that could effect change, not the powerless judge in the courtroom who acts under the direction of others.
You imagine bail being  denied in part because of “national security concerns” In fact  the  conduct of the defendants was in itself to protect national security in the face of government actions which threatened national security. As a matter of fact that National security is threatened and breached when a zombie police and army personnel attack, assault, kidnap, torture, and kill any unarmed citizen who is merely calling for electoral reform in a peaceful manner.

Solo Sandeng was arrested without  an arrest  warrant. He was abducted and kidnapped by government security personnel. Mr Ousainou Darboe was leading a group of patriotic Gambians, in protest against the abduction, torture and reported death of Solo Sandeng. The people who ordered the arrest of Mr Darboe and his compatriots are the persons who should be charged with threatening the national security of the country, and conspiracy to illegally conceal the kidnapping, torture, and reported murder of Solo Sandeng.
It is reported that one of the issues raised at the earlier bail hearings was the speculation that Mr Darboe and co may engage in similar conduct if released. There is  absolutely no basis in law for anyone to be detained based on the anticipation that the person will make public statements about the abduction, torture and possible murder of an innocent person. By denying bail in part on this ground, the court therefore is being used to suppress information about heinous crimes allegedly committed by government agents. It will be a mockery of justice when courts deny bail in order to prevent patriotic citizens from calling attention to the torture and reported murder of an innocent citizen. If a court does so, it becomes complicit in the cover up of heinous crimes.
The judge reportedly stated that the defense did not address the concerns of the prosecution. The defense does not care about the frivolous and feigned concerns of the prosecution because the charges are trumped up, and are filed for the sole purpose of preventing Mr Darboe and co from exposing the criminal actions committed against Mr Solo Sandeng and the others, and demanding the release of Mr Sandeng or his remains.

The court’s paramount concern should be the protection of the rights of the detainees to continue their peaceful actions seeking information on the whereabouts of Mr Sandeng and others, and to facilitate activities that would lead to the truth about what happened to Mr Sandeng. The court should not deny bail to silence these patriotic citizens on matters of supreme importance to all Gambians.
Given the fact that this case arose out of peaceful demands for electoral reform, and it involves a political decision by the government to arrest the leader of the country’s largest political  party and members of his executive committee, most of whom are senior citizens, we insist on having a judge who owes allegiance to the Gambian Nation as a citizen and we object to any judge who does not owe sovereign allegiance to The Republic Of The Gambia.

 

 

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