Saturday, October 19, 2019

AT THE TRRC: Witness Alleges Former Governor Ordered For Her Arrest, Detention

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By Momodou Jarju

At Monday June 17th hearing of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), third witness Binta Kuyateh who hails from the village of Brikama-ba, alleged that former Governor of the Central River Region (CRR) Ganyie Touray, ordered for her arrest and incarceration at the Janjangbureh prisons.

The 63 year old woman from disclosed that she was detained at the Janjanbureh prisons for 23 days without being charged for any wrongdoing. Kuyateh said she was an erstwhile supporter of the APRC before joining the UDP; that before the National Assembly elections in 2012 (which the UDP party boycotted), she was at a rally organized by the APRC party to listen to their political messages, where she was arrested.

She said a para-military officer approached her and informed her that she was asked to arrest her; that from the meeting ground, they took her to the Brikama-Ba Police station where she was detained up to 10pm. “I was later taken to Bansang Police station where some other people were added to me,” she said.

Kuyateh said she was later taken to Commissioner Gaynie Touray’s office in Jangjangbureh, where she met Touray’s deputy Malang Saibo Camara; that the two held a brief discussion. “The Governor told me that he was the one who instructed the Police to arrest me. He told me that it will take a long time before I can see sunlight again,” she explained.

The witness further said Governor Touray ordered officials to take her to Jangjangbureh prisons where she was incarcerated.

That all through this period, she was not told the reason for her arrest and detention. “I was suffering a lot and I always do what they asked me to do,” she told Commissioners.

She said the cell she was held in was infested with mosquitoes; that there was a bucket in the cell that was filled with human faeces and maggots of all sort; that her husband was manhandled by Prison officers when he visited her. This she believed would later contribute to his husband’s untimely death, four years later.

Kuyateh said one day during her incarceration, she requested to take a shower because she was extremely grubby and her whole body was almost smeared with faeces; that a female prisons officer stood nearby to watch her.

“I asked her to stay away because he was too young to see my nakedness. But she refused and said that was Lawful practice. I had to return to my cell without taking my bath,” she explained. Further narrating her ordeal, Kuyateh recalled the then deputy to Ganyie Touray in the person of Malang Saibo, visited her and requested for her to sing and dance for him. “I told him that this was not a time to sing and dance. So I was taken back to the cell,” he said. Kuyateh asserted that she was never allowed to use the toilet outside and continued to use the bucket that was placed in the cell. She said she hardly had the feeling to go to the toilet because she hardly eats.

“I normally take water,” she said. “In fact there was a day my heart could not contain the nasty environment and I started vomiting. But nothing came out because I had not been eating anything,” she said.

Kuyateh appealed to the TRRC to bring Governor Ganyie Touray to justice, saying he made her suffer inhumane and degrading treatment for no just cause or reason; that after her release, she said she was held at Brikama-Ba Police Station for four months oblivious of the charges levied against her, and was also kept from speaking in Court.      

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