Court Sentences Sanna Fadera to 12 Years in Prison for Treason

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Justice Basiru V.P Mahoney of the Banjul High Court has convicted and sentenced a Gambian soldier to twelve (12) years imprisonment for plotting to overthrow the Government of The Gambia.

Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, the ringleader for the December 2022 attempted coup, was the only person convicted and sentenced by the court as the Judge acquitted and discharged all the other accused persons of all the charges proffered against them. The Judge said the evidence provided by the prosecution demonstrated that Sanna Fadera had prepared and attempted to overthrow the Government of the Gambia through unlawful means.

The accused persons were (Lance Corporal) Sanna Fadera, (Sergeant) GibrilDarboe, (Corporal) EbrimaSannoh, (Corporal) Omar Njie, and (Sub-Inspector) Fabakary Jawara – the only policeman in this trial. The charges were two counts of treason, two counts of concealment of treason and incitement to mutiny. Corporal Omar Njie was earlier acquitted and discharged by the court after succeeding in his no case to answer submission. In his judgment, Justice Mahoney discharged and acquitted Gibril Darboe, Ebrima Sannoh, and Fa Bakary Jawara.

They were accused of planning to stage a military takeover sometime around December 2022, but they denied culpability as they opened their defence.

Delivering his judgement on Tuesday, 31 October 2023, Justice Mahoney said Sanna Fadera was guilty of the offences charged. Senior Lawyer Lamin S. Camara pleaded with the court not to impose the death penalty on the convict.

Counsel Camara submitted that the court should consider a lesser penalty because Sanna Fadera was a first-time offender and a youth, who had served the Gambia Armed Forces for 12 years as a lab scientist.

On the other hand, State Counsel Abdul Maita Yusuf recognized the verdict delivered by the court while informing the court of their intention to appeal against the acquittal and discharge of the three other accused persons. Lawyer Yusuf asked the court to remand the three (3) acquitted accused persons pending the hearing and determination of the appeal at the Gambia Court of Court.

The State Counsel further argued that despite the absence of loss of life, the punishment for treason should be capital punishment and a severe sentence would serve as a deterrent against future coup attempts.

However, Lawyer Camara opposed the application seeking the remand of the three acquitted accused persons, saying there is no charge against them to warrant their confinement. He submitted that they (accused persons) should be able to enjoy their freedom granted by the court.

Justice Mahoney relied on section 29 of the Criminal Code and sentenced Lance Corporal Fadera to 12 years imprisonment for the offence of treason. He also granted the three other acquitted accused persons bail for one hundred thousand Dalasi (D100, 000) each with one Gambian surety pending the appeal to be filed by the State.

Foroyaa will provide you with the details of the verdict in our subsequent publications.