Tuesday, July 16, 2019

AT THE COURT MARTIAL: “I am not a psychologist”, Lieutenant Isaac Jammeh says


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By Kebba Secka and Yankuba Jallow

The sixth prosecution witness (PW6), Lieutenant Isaac has Jammeh told the Court-Martial that he is not a psychologist but can identify psychological trauma based on the impression of a person.

Jammeh made this remark on Friday 22nd December 2017, under cross examination by Lawyer Sheriff Kumba Jobe, counsel for the 12 accused persons who is facing treason and mutiny charges at the Court Martial at Yundum barrack. Jammeh said he can identify a person undergoing psychological trauma based on the person’s impression; that he is a soldier posted at the Yundum Military Barracks but that he is a resident of Brikama.

Jammeh said sometime in July whilst on duty as a soldier and team leader for those on duties, he realised the absence of the third accused person, Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh; that he notified the officer in charge (OC) of the whereabouts of Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh, but the OC told him that he (Lt Jammeh) was under interrogation at the SIS (NIA).

Under cross-examination, he told the Court that he received the third accused person in the evening of 26th July 2017.

“On this day I received him and wanted to make sure that he does not have any psychological trauma”, Lt Isaac said.

He said as a duty officer, he wanted to make sure that the state of mind of the third accused person was stable; that he took him to the archery and sat down with him.

Lawyer Jobe asked Lieutenant Isaac Jammeh whether he was a psychologist who can identify someone with psychological trauma and the witness responded: “Except on certain circumstances”. Lawyer Jobe put it to the witness that on the evening of July 26th, the third accused person was in an inconvenient situation when he was brought to him (the witness). Lawyer Jobe said this was the reason the third accused person did not report anything to him (Lieutenant Isaac Jammeh), that he was undergoing trauma at that time. “The third accused person never complained to me of any inconvenience at that time”, PW6 responded.

Lawyer Jobe told him that he is not a psychologist and has no knowledge of the psychological trauma of the third accused person. Whilst under re-examination by State Counsel Yusuf, the witness told the Court that as a duty officer, his reason for looking after the third accused person was to make sure that his wellbeing was monitored. Lawyer Jobe complained in Court that his clients are treated badly at the Remand Wing in Mile II Prisons. “The situation of my clients in remand at Mile II is now worse than before”, he said. Lawyer Jobe reminded the Court-Martial of its ruling that the accused persons should be served food outside cell. “The maltreatment preferred on my clients tantamount to denial of their basic human right”, Lawyer Jobe said.

He told the panellists at the Court-Martial that the situation that his clients currently face at the Remand Wing has been worsen after they complained in Court of maltreatment. The current situation, according to Lawyer Jobe is more severe than the torture they faced prior to the commencement of the case at hand. Lawyer Jobe made an application for the Court-Martial to intervene in order to address the current situation that his clients are undergoing at Mile II.

State prosecutor, Yusuf objected to Lawyer Jobe’s application adding that the rights of the accused persons are being respected by the authorities. Lawyer A.Yusuf told the Court-Martial that despite them (the accused persons) being in remand, it does not mean they should enjoy total freedom. He told the Court-Martial that he will make sure that the rights accorded to persons in remand are fully observed for the accused persons.

The Judge Advocate, Sainabou Wadda-Ceesay read the ruling of the Court-Martial.

She said the court cannot intervene in the matter because there are limitations for the court’s intervention in certain issues; that there are rules and regulations in Prisons that govern the way and manner detainees and convicts are treated.

She said the Court has the power to intervene on issues involving denial of some basic human rights of the accused persons but in this matter the court can only urge the prison authorities to respect the rules and regulations of the prison service and the welfare of the accused persons. The Judge Advocate urged the Defence and State Counsels, to lay the issue of maltreatment to rest.

The matter was adjourned to January 8th 2018, at 9:30 am for continuation of hearing.

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