By Nelson Manneh
Team ‘Geum Sa Bopp’, yesterday November 15th 2018, held a press briefing in Westfield, beside the main entrance of the Kanifing Magistrates Court, on the slogan ‘No to Police Brutality’.
This press briefing according to the organizers, was meant to remind Government of the promises made to put an end to the rampant Police brutality in the country.
Tijan Jaw, Spokesperson of the organization, told the press they have a lot of information to send out to the public, but were advice to lessen their voices.
“We were told that the Gambia will be a heaven to all of us, and there will be changes in all aspects. But nothing has happened,” he said.
He said they are calling on all to follow the case of Ali Cham alias ‘Killer Ace’, a Gambian artist.
In a press release the organisation indicated that President Adama Barrow and his Administration must condemn Police brutality and uphold the promises made to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“I was deliberately targeted by the officers that assaulted me, because they came straight for me in the public place for no apparent reason. I was assaulted, arrested, and now I am being charged with ridiculous infractions that are laughable. This is clearly designed to intimidate me, and stopping me from speaking up against corruption and poor governance in this country. But I will not be intimidated,” said Killa Ace in the press release.
The press release continued that this is not the first time Police have assaulted civilians, nor is it the first time that outspoken members of civil society have been targeted by the Barrow administration through the security apparatus; that Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, a lecturer and public commentator was arrested on 31st January 2018, for speaking out about the fragility of the security sector in the country.
‘‘We wish to bring to the President’s attention, the inhumane treatment of detainees at the Anti-Crime Unit in Bijilo. It is common knowledge that the Constitution clearly states that one should not be kept in custody beyond 72 hours without being charged and taken to Court, no matter what crime they are accused of committing. But the manner in which officers of the anti-crime unit treat these young people, is unacceptable. We await a reaction from Government, and expect that they do the right thing in protecting the rights of citizens, instead of violating them.
The press release indicate that the Team expects President Barrow to show empathy, courage, and strong political will and at the very least, deter such occurrences in our new found democracy. ‘‘But we are disappointed that he has chosen to embrace such rotten elements in his new administration so that they can continue to abuse and undermine the very security, peace and stability we voted for on December 2, 2016’’, the release concludes.