By Yankuba Jallow
A former Lawmaker for Banjul Central Abdoulie Saine, on Friday July 12th, continued with his defence regarding his criminal trial on charges of seditious intention and incitement to violence.
Abdoulie Saine who is standing trial for allegedly releasing a ‘WhatsApp’ audio on 2nd November 2018 in the City of Banjul without Lawful excuse and with intent to incite violence, was purported to utter a statement on ‘Whatsapp’ audio using abusive and derogative remarks against an entire tribe, stating their selfishness, hypocrisy and wickedness as a people. His trial began sometime in September 2018 and he pleaded not guilty to all charges.
When the case was called before Magistrate T. Wilson, Lawyer Mosses B. Johnson-Richards announced his presence for the accused person (Abdoulie Saine) whereas the prosecution was represented by Superintendent M.B. Mballow (Inspector General of Police).
In his defence, Saine said he belongs to an APRC WhatsApp group where there was a heated argument among members; that as an elder in the group, he made the audio to clarify the issues under dispute. He said he clarified the difference between ‘Mandinka’ and ‘Sosseh’; that the argument was tense and he had to come in and make the clarification which according to him, was appreciated by all the members of the group, bringing an end to the argument. Saine said sometimes in WhatsApp forums, there are people who may not support the party but will join the group to collect information to share in many other forums. He indicated that it is unusual for information from their forum to be published in other social media platforms.
“Was your contribution to the (APRC) group intended to be made public?” Lawyer Mosses B. Richards-Johnson asked Saine.
The witness replied in the negative adding that he did not publish it in any other forum. He put forward that he inquired as to who published the audio in other social media forums and he is yet to know who did it up to now. Saine told the Court that he has ‘Mandinka’ in-laws as well as others who are his relatives and friends. He stressed that the majority of the APRC Executive including the interim leader and his deputy, are from the ‘Mandinka’ speaking language group; that they form an overwhelming majority of the APRC party. He told the Court that even though he made the audio, he still remains an Executive member of the party and as well, the party’s adviser.
“Are you aware of any problems that your publication may have caused?” the Defence Lawyer asked.
In his swift response to the question, Saine replied in the negative and further refuted the claim that Police Commissioner Abdoulie Sanneh made regarding his arrest.
If readers can recall, Sanneh in his testimony said Saine was arrested to provide him security because ‘Mandinkas’ were trying to attack him. Saine said neither him nor his family or property, were attacked or subjected to physical or verbal assault by any person or group of individuals and therefore, denied Sanneh’s claim.
He said individuals repeatedly published audios insulting his party and the ‘Jola’ ethnic group as well as the people of Foni; that one of them insulted the ‘Wollofs’ of Banjul labeling them as ‘illegitimate’ children. He said the people who did this include Bakary Trawally, Kalang Suso, Fatim Darboe-Danso, Sankalang Marong among a lot of others and they have never been questioned or prosecuted for their utterances. He said he has some of their audios which called for acts of violence. He said he remembered one Bakary Trawally who released an audio message calling on UDP supporters to arm themselves and attack the APRC entourage who were on a nation-wide tour at the time with weapons such as cutlasses; that while the tour was on, the APRC entourage was attacked by the UDP supporters but Trawally was never questioned or prosecuted for his action. He said one Fofana from Abuko also published an audio message and insulted the ‘Wollofs’ of Banjul, and was not arrested or prosecuted for his audios.
At this juncture, the matter was adjourned to 23rd July 2019 at 2:30 pm for continuation of hearing and cross-examination of the defense witness.
If readers can recall, Abdoulie Saine began his defense on the 5th day of March 2019.