By Yankuba Jallow
The last two sittings of the General Court-Martial were all held in camera.
The panellist of the Court-Martial passed a unanimous ruling on the applications made by State lawyers, for sittings to be held in camera.
This again happened for the third time on Tuesday 3rd March 2018, when the media as well as family members and loved ones of the accused persons who are always seated in Court before trial commences, where shown the exit door.
The Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Counsel MB Abubakar, who spoke to this reporter said the reason of the Court’s decision was because the transcription of the ‘WhatsApp’ audios was not done and the State felt that this should not be held in an open Court; that on the next adjourned date which is scheduled for 30th April 2018, the media and all other stakeholders which includes family members of the accused persons, will be allowed in.
The Composition of the General Court-Martial’s panel includes Justice Sainabou Ceesay-Wadda as the Judge Advocate, Colonel Salifu Bojang as President, Lieutenant Colonel Mai Touray, Captain A. Dacosta, Captain Awa Bah, Major Abdoulie Manneh, Major Basiru Sarr and Lieutenant Colonel Seedy Joof, whilst some such as the Army PRO, were withdrawn because of their absence from sittings.
The 12 accused persons who are all members of the Gambia Armed Forces, face treason charges, incitement to mutiny, failure to report mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny, endeavour to persuade members of the Armed Forces to take part in mutiny, negligence or wilful interference with Lawful custody and connivance of desertion, in the ongoing General Court-Martial.
The twelve soldiers are Captain Yaya Jammeh, Lieutenant Abdoulie Jarju, Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh, Sergeant Baboucarr Sanneh, Sergeant Malick Bojang, Corporal Sulayman Sanyang, Corporal Lamin Gibba, Corporal Ebrima Jallow, Lance Corporal Samboujang Bojang, Lance Corporal Abba Badjie, Private Mbemba Camara and Private Alieu Sanneh.
The eighth and ninth accused persons, Corporal Ebrima Jallow and Lance Corporal Samboujang Bojang respectfully, face charges of negligence or wilful interference with Law custody but were denied bail upon the application of defence Lawyer Sheriff Kumba Jobe, whose application indicate that they are bailable offences, was objected to by the State Prosecutor A.N Yusuf. The bail was denied.
The case according to DDPP Abubakar, is adjourned to the 30th April 2018, at 10am for continuation of hearing.