By Yankuba Jallow
The ongoing criminal trial involving 13 Kanilai protesters, has suffered another setback, due to the request of the State. When the matter was called before Prinipal Magistrate Omar Cham of the Brikama Magistrates Court on Tuesday, August 22 2017, A. Jobateh announced her appearance for the State whilst Ibrahim Jallow appeared for the accused persons. 12 of the 13 accused persons were present whilst Saikou Omar Sanneh the thirteenth accused person, was absent.
Jobateh told the court that they have an application for a nolle prosequi (striking out) of the case but the Attorney General has not appended his signature to it yet. In addition, she applied for an adjournment to enable the Attorney General to sign the document and for the matter to be struck out of court.
Counsel I. Jallow did not object to her application but told her that the process should be fasten because the matter has suffered series of adjournments. He further told the court that most of the accused persons are farmers and breadwinners of their respective families.
The matter was adjourned to the September 5, 2017 and September 12, 2017 for the State to file a nolle prosequi.
If readers can recall, the alleged protesters were remanded in relation to protests that occurred in Kanilai on Friday 2nd June 2017. The protest resulted in a confrontation between them and ECOMIG soldiers stationed in the village. It is said that the villagers came out to express their dissatisfaction in a peaceful protest regarding the manner the soldiers were treating them.
The accused persons who were mostly men included two females and they were Ebou Beteng Sanyang, Ansu Jatta, Lamin Kujabi, Sambujang Badjie, Kaddy Badjie, Mamadou Jang Jallow, Awa Badjie, Ebrima Jammeh, Baboucar Tamba, Assan Jammeh, Cham Jarju and Saikou Omar Sanneh. The all faced charges before the Principal Magistrate at the Brikama magistrates’ court.
The accused persons were all charged on count one, with unlawful assembly contrary to Section 70 of the Criminal Code of the Gambia in which they were alleged to, on or about the 2nd of June, 2017, assembled in Kanilai and diverse places in the West Coast Region, with intent to commit offence by demonstrating without a permit from the office of the Inspector General of Police; on count two, they were accused of incitement to violence, contrary to Section 59 B (1) (a) (b) of the Criminal Code of the Gambia, by making statements calculated to bring death or physical injury to people on the same day.
In addition, they were also charged with prohibition of conduct, contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act, where they are alleged to commit themselves in manners likely to cause a breach of peace, by burning tyres and using provocative words against members of the ECOMIG and Gambia Armed Forces.
Furthermore, on count four they were charged with rioting, contrary to Section 71 of the Criminal Code of The Gambia, where they are all alleged to have taken part in a riot against the ECOMIG and Gambia Armed Forces.
Finally, on count 5 they are all charged with conspiracy to commit misdemeanor contrary to Section 369 of the Criminal Code of the Gambia, where they are alleged to have conspired amongst themselves to riot against the presence of members of the Gambia Armed Forces and the ECOWAS mission in the Gambia.