Sunday, February 5, 2023

Police Arraign 7 Soldiers on Treason Charges

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Police have Friday arraigned five (5) soldiers and two (2) officers arrested in connection to the alleged December foiled coup on charges of treason and conspiracy to commit a felony. The total number of accused persons is eight (8) – one of them is at large.

The seven soldiers accused persons are Sanna Fadera (alleged ring leader), Gibril Darboe, Ebrima Sano, Ebrima Baldeh, Omar Colley, Baboucar Njie, Barra Touray and Lamin Jadama (at large).

Magistrate Krubally, who held the proceedings outside official working hours informed the court that he received a fiat (authorization) from the Chief Justice (as the head of the Judiciary) to preside over the case outside the normal office working hours.

Appearing before Magistrate Muhammed Krubally of the Banjul Magistrate’s Court on Friday afternoon, the seven members of the Gambia Armed Forces all pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy. Magistrate Krubally then informed the prosecution that his court lacked the power to hear the charge of treason and therefore, he chose not to read it. The accused persons did not take their plea on the treason charge.

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They were not represented by any lawyer. Commissioner Abdoulie Sanneh appeared for the Inspector General of Police.

The seven accused persons allegedly prepared or endeavoured to overthrow the Government of President Adama Barrow in October and December 2022 using unlawful means.

The prosecution relied on section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to amend the names of two accused persons, whose names were not properly written in the charge sheet. The name of Mbarra Touray was amended to Barra Touray and the name of Ebrima B. Njie to Ebrima Njie.

Commissioner Sanneh relied on section 62 of the CPC and 208A of the same authority in making an application for the matter to be transferred to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court by virtue of Legal Notice Number 3 of 2009. He asked the court to remand the seven accused persons pending their appearance before the high court.

Magistrate Krubally on hearing the application by the prosecutor remanded the seven accused persons on the count of treason. He also granted them bail on the conspiracy charge with a bail bond of D100,000 each and a Gambian surety who shall swear to an affidavit of means in the event these people abscond or fail to appear in court, the surety shall take the burden. This simply means they are denied bail.

The seven accused persons were escorted to Mile 2 Central Prisons by armed personnel of the Military Police Unit of the Gambia Armed Forces. 

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