Thursday, July 18, 2019

At The Court-Martial: Two Of The Accused Soldiers’ Case Set For Summary Judgment

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By Kebba Secka
The criminal case involving Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Sulaiman S. Badjie and Lance Corporal Private Lamin Kujabi, who are both charged with three counts of incitement to mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny and endeavour to persuade members of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) to take part in mutiny, was on Monday 06th May 2019, set for summary Judgment.

When the case was called before a panel of senior military officers guided by Judge Advocate Zainab Alami Jawara, AM Yusuf appeared with Lt. B. Sanneh for the State, while the accused persons were represented by Major Basirou Sarr, Navy Commander Lt. Fara Jobe, Mustapha Badjie and O. Suso, as the lead Defense Counsel.

On March 11th 2019 after Defense Witness Five (DW5) Abibatou Jallow ended her testimony, the defense team announced the closure of its case. The Court at that juncture urged both parties to file in their written addresses within two weeks.

During Monday’s sitting, Defense Counsel O. Suso told the Court-Martial that they have made their brief on the 19th of March 2019; adding that the Defense wishes to adopt the same brief as their final brief of argument in the matter under trial. He prayed for the Court to resolve the doubts in the testimonies of Principal Witness Two (PW2) and PW 8, in favour of the accused persons. He finally submitted that the Court-Martial should acquit and discharge the accused persons. He said the two most important witnesses of the prosecution told the Court in their testimonies, that they do not know anything in the two accused persons’ case. ‘‘PW1 has not provided any proof as to the message he sent to the first accused person which he said was sent to correct the Muslim call to prayers,’’ Suso said.

On his part, A M Yusuf said on 12th April 2019, they filed their brief of argument, and intend to use the same as their final brief of argument. He said based on the exhibit of PW 3 and other prosecution witnesses, there is abundant evidence against the first accused person WO1 Sulaiman S. Badjie; adding that the prosecution has proven their case against SS Badjie. ‘‘As for the evidence, we have proven that the first accused person was part of the ‘Whatsapp’ group called ‘True Friends’ which is the subject matter of this case,’’ AM Yusuf said.

According to the prosecution, the same exhibit of PW 3 and the testimonies of PW 8, is available evidence against the second accused person LCP Lamin Kujabi. He disagreed with the defense’s testimony of the second accused person and described him as a liar. He beseeched the Court to rely on the evidence provided by the prosecution and convict the accused persons accordingly.

It could be recalled that since 2018, two soldiers who were charged in relation to a purported ‘Whatsapp’ group, were alleged to have created the group to overthrow the new Government of the Gambia, which allegation they denied.

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