By Rohey Jadama
Kafu Bayo, the sevententh prosecution (PW17), in the ongoing murder trial against Yankuba Badjie and eight others, told the Banjul High Court that he was tortured until one of his tooth was broken.
Testifying before Justice Kumba Sillah Camara, Mr. Bayo said he heard a knock on the door and his name was called; that he stood up and then opened the door.
He continued: “When the door was open, they gripped me and turned me so that I will not recognize them. They tied my eyes with a piece of cloth and it was tightly tied. I told them that it was tied and they should loosen it. One of them told me that we are going to kill you. I responded to them that I have heard what you said, but not what Allah has said. When I said that they started torturing me and one of my tooth was broken in the process.”
At this point, the witness stood up and opened his mouth and showed it to the Court by pointing at one of the teeth on his lower jaw.
“They tied my two hands behind my back and also tied my waist and they said to me that we are going to the place where we are going to kill you,” said the witness.
When Lawyer Gaye, the lead prosecutor asked how many people they were, the witness responded that they maybe two people, because he was blindfolded but he heard two people talking. Asked further in what language they were talking, the witness responded that they were speaking in Mandinka. Asked whether they were male or female, he responded that from their voices, they were male.
“I didn’t see the place where they took me but it seems there was a table there. I was asked to lie down with my face down. Then they started torturing me and whilst they were beating me, they told me: ‘Here is Bamba Dinka. We will kill you.’ They were not beating me with their bare hands. They were beating me with a stick and I even have a mark on my body,” PW17 said.
The witness while responding to questions from Lawyer Gaye as to how long they beat him, told the Court that he cannot remember how long the beating lasted, but that they beat him until they were tired and sat down to rest.
“When they stood up to beat me for the second time, I couldn’t recall because I was unconscious. I think they took me to the cell because when they were taking me, I did not notice that I sustained injuries on my back and right leg,” he said.
Bayo further told the Court that he was detained at the NIA for fourteen days; that while at the NIA, one man told him that he cannot go out with the clothes he was wearing because those clothes were stained with blood. When asked what blood, the witness responded that it was the blood from his body, due to the beatings; that the NIA officer said he was going to buy clothes for him to wear. He told the Court that the NIA officer told him that he was the Doctor there.
Bayo said the NIA officer bought two jeans and shirts for him. Asked whether the NIA officer told him his name, the witness responded in the negative, but added that if he sees him he will recognize him.
At this juncture, Lawyer Gaye asked the witness whether if he sees him in the Courtroom, he will recognize him. The witness responded in the positive. Barrister Gaye took leave of the Court for the witness to identify the said NIA officer.
However, Lawyer Mene, Defence Counsel for the 1st accused interjected and argued that the accused persons seat at random.
The judge however, held that the accused persons will sit according to the indictment or charge sheet; that at the end of the day, the weight of the evidence is what will matter.
The Court granted the witness to identify the said NIA officer. The witness walked up to where the accused persons were seated and pointed at the 9th accused person, Lamin Lang Sanyang.
The case was adjourned till Monday 4th June, 2018 at 12noon for continuation of evidence-in-chief of PW17.
The accused persons in this trial are: Yankuba Badgie, former Director General of NIA, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Baboucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.
They are standing trial on twenty-five charges ranging from murder, causing grievous harm, unlawfully causing grievous harm , conspiracy to commit felony, accessory, forgery, making document without authority , fabricating evidence, making a false death certificate, disobedience to statutory duty, abducting in order to murder and abduction in order to subject persons to grievous harm.