By Nelson Manneh
Fatou Camara of the United Democratic Party (UDP), the 27th Prosecution Witness in the trial of former Intelligence Chiefs in the former Jammeh regime, yesterday 29th January 2019, told the High Court that she spent more than twenty days at the NIA Headquarters in Banjul.
She told the Court that after she was taken from Mile II Prisons, she was moved to the NIA headquarters and put in a room.
Camara said she was then called by someone from outside but before she went to meet this person, she was blind folded, adding that she did not know who covered her eyes. Camara told the court that she was lifted up and was taken to another room. “In that room where I was taken, I was meant to lie down on something that I did not know because I was blindfolded. But I could feel that the place was cold,” she said.
She said that she was called by her name and was told that they took her to this room for her to speak the truth; she was told to open her mouth which she refused to do.
Camara said she then heard someone calling Haruna to come to the room with a pipe from his office because I did not want to talk.
“What was going on in your mind when the request for the pipe was made?” asked prosecutor Combeh Gaye.
Camara responded that she was thinking of death; that her hands were tied as she was being beaten and was blindfolded and cannot describe the pipe. The witness said she cannot mention the number of people who were beating her but that they were more than one.
She said after receiving the beatings, she was thrown outside on the grass. “When I was thrown outside I was not conscious. I was blindfolded and thrown on the grass,” she said.
The witness said when she regained consciousness, she realised that she was thrown on the grass and had poured water on her body. Camara said while they were beating her, a man told them to stop but they refused. The man who intervened finally came and took her away to another place under a veranda where she laid.
Fatou Camara said by this time, she preferred to die than to be alive, adding that she asked a man who was passing by to give her water. She said further that as she was lying down beside a door under the veranda one man came out and kicked her on her left side.
“Where you using glasses (spectacles) before?” asked prosecutor Combeh Gaye.
Camara responded in the negative, adding that when she went for treatment in Senegal, she was advised to use glasses. She told the court that she had a blood clot in her eye due to the kicks but she managed to remove it.
Continuing to narrate her ordeal, she was later taken to another room where she saw a long table at which many other people were seated and where a video camera was being used to film them. She said that whilst in the room, Fatoumatta Jawara came in. “I was called by my name by one man inside the room where I was, and he told me to speak the truth. I then heard one Tamba saying that they should give us vinegar to eliminate us,” she said.
“How do you know that it was Tamba?” asked prosecutor Combeh Gaye. Camara responded that she heard someone calling his name saying Tamba have mercy.
She said she became unconscious and by the time she regained consciousness, she saw herself in another room with Fatoumatta Jawara, Nogoi Njie and another old man; that she was then told by Nogoi Njie that there is a doctor around.
She said they were then transferred to another room with four beds and there she saw the doctor. She added that she was crying and Nogoi told her that she should stop crying. Camara said at that time, she urinated only blood. She said that the doctor she met in the room was a male doctor and his name is Sanyang; that if she sees the doctor she will recognise him.
She said the doctor wanted to attend to them but she refused because she does not trust the place; that she told the doctor that before she was brought there, she was informed that they inject people and after some time they die.
She said that there was a nurse who was brought in by Sergeant Jeng and the name of the nurse is Fatou Darboe. She said she did not know her but told the nurse that someone wants to offer treatment to her, but that she refused; that she will accept her because she is a female and should sympathize with them.
She said the Nurse gave her some medicine and they were then transferred to another room. She further said that she spent fifteen days urinating blood.
The matter was then adjourned to the 11th of February 2019, for continuation.