By Yankuba Jallow & Mariama Marong
A trial judge in Banjul on Monday, 25th January sentenced one Abdul Aziz Njie, a Senegalese national to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of murder.
Njie is the man who was accused of killing one Baboucar Sallah at Old Yundum using a cutlass. He pleaded not guilty and the prosecution opened their case. After closing their case, the accused person who is represented by the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) opened his defence and closed after completing his testimony. The court found him guilty of the offence. The prosecuting officer for the Attorney General was Lawyer Muhammed B. Sowe.
Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse said the law imposes a mandatory sentencing on the offence of murder which is sentence to death. She explained that the court has no discretion to reduce the sentencing. However, she said the Gambia commutes all death sentences to life imprisonment adding this was the reason why Njie’s sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment.
After the court sentenced him, Njie told the court “I did not kill anyone. All the three prosecution witnesses were not truthful. All they told you were lies. I am not a witch.”
At this point, the Judge told him to talk to his lawyer and he will be able to guide him on what to do next.
Readers would recall, Abubacar Tambadou, the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice on Tuesday 7th May 2019 said the government of the Gambia is committed to removing death penalty in the laws of the land.
He told the press that the government of the Gambia as part of fulfilling its international obligation is willing to revoke the death penalty. He indicated that 22 death sentences have been commuted to life imprisonment sentences.
“There is no longer any person in death row. Their life sentences have been commuted now,” the Minister explained.