Wednesday, February 19, 2020

When will the authorities investigate LCPL Jarju’s allegation of torture?


Lance Corporal Jarju of the Gambia Armed Forces has alleged ill treatment while in the custody of the NIA in contravention of section 21 of the Constitution which stipulates: “No person shall be subject to torture or inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.”

Lance Corporal Jarju has alleged openly to the media how he sustained injuries on his hands and feet. He had been admitted to a military clinic upon his release from the NIA. But now he has been returned to his detention cell at the Guards Battalion at Fajara Barracks.

Meanwhile the wife of Lance Corporal Samboujang Bojang, has said that investigation on the allegation is yet to be conducted and this has been confirmed by the PRO of the armed forces. She added that the injuries are yet to be healed.

The chief of defence staff had promised to investigate the allegation “if it is true that he had sustained bruises”. The head of the SIS (NIA) has promised to invite the media in due course to say something on this matter. The president, who has the NIA under his command, according to section 191 of the Constitution is yet to say something on the matter. Will he say something or remain quiet. Only time will tell.

What the New Gambia needs is a complete break from the past. There should be zero tolerance for arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, torture or inhumane or degrading treatment. The executive must persist in adhering to the rule of law and the constitution. One may face hard choices at times but it is those very difficult decisions which must be taken to break away from the past which is still haunting us. Yahya Jammeh has gone but detention without trial and allegation of torture are still lingering. Impunity still lingers on. When will we cut the umbilical cord and give a chance to a new Gambia.

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