By Yankuba Jallow
The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara will today hear the ‘no case submission’ by Lawyers EE Chime and CE Mene, the defence lawyers for Yankuba Badjie in the NIA 9 case.
Yankuba Badjie, an erstwhile Director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is charged with numerous criminal offences along with Sheikh Omar Jeng, an ex-Director of Operation and seven (7) ex-NIA agents. Badjie is jointly charged with 8 others with twenty-five (25) counts including murder, torture and conspiracy. He denied the charges by pleading not guilty to all the 25 counts.
The two defence lawyers will today make the ‘no case submission’ in respect of their client who has been held in detention for about two years. To the defence lawyers, the prosecution has not established a case to warrant the accused person (Yankuba Badjie) to enter his defence after calling 35 witnesses and the numerous exhibits they have tendered to prove the guilt of the accused persons.
He is facing charges in connection with the untimely death of Ebrima Solo Sandeng of the United Democratic Party (UDP) on or about the 14th April 2016. The late Sandeng was the leader of the Youth Wing of the UDP and all witnesses who had testified before the court identified as the ring leader of the 14th April 2016 UDP demonstration held at Westfield. Testimonies allege that Sandeng along with Nogoi Njie, Fatou Camara, Fatoumata Jawara, Kafu Bayo, Modou Ngum and Ebrima Jabang were taken to the NIA and tortured severely by people they couldn’t recognize though they all said they were tortured within the premises of the NIA. According to the testimonies of Nogoi Njie and others they all said Solo Sandeng was tortured at the NIA and kept at the infamous ‘Bambadinka’ cell.
Badjie’s deputy, Louise Gomez died during the course of the trial while under the custody of the State. Yusupha Jammeh was discharged by the court following the prosecution’s application for the court to discharge him for lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute him. Now the number of accused persons is seven (7).
8 other NIA agents were charged with ‘accessory after the fact of murder’ but were all discharged by the court. These people were charged in connection to the death of Solo Sandeng but the State withdrew charges against them.