Saturday, August 24, 2019

‘WhatsApp’ Case Linked To Two Soldiers Set For Sum-up Judgment

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By Kebba Secka
The criminal case involving Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Sulaiman S. Badjie and Lance Corporal Private Lamin Kujabi, is set for summary judgment on the 30th of July, 2019.

The two are charged with three counts of incitement to mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny and endeavor to persuade members of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) to take part in mutiny

It was in May when the matter was first set for summary judgement after the defense closed their case on 11th March 2019 with defense witness five (DW5)  Abibatou Jallow, who told the court that she works as transcriber at the High Court in Banjul. Judge advocate Zainab Alami Jawara who served as a legal guide to the panellist of the Court-martial throughout the trial, will be expected to give out a summary of her findings including facts and opinions regarding the case.

During the trial, the prosecution called several witnesses to prove their case as the burden of proof rested on the soldiers. Both parties were urged to file in their written addresses within two weeks from the 11th of March 2019.

In an oral address to the Court after DW5’s testimony, Lead Counsel for the defense Omar O. Suso prayed to the Court to resolve the doubt in the testimonies of PW2 and 8 in favor of the accused persons. He submitted that the Court-Martial should acquit and discharge the accused persons.

On his part, Counsel for the prosecution AM Yusuf submitted that abundant evidence has been advanced against Sulaiman S. Badjie; that they have proved their case beyond all reasonable doubt.

If reader can recall, seven soldiers were convicted by a Court-Martial for mutiny and other related charges. The convicted soldiers were alleged to have created a ‘Whatsapp’ group with the intention to overthrow the Government of the Gambia and in the process, arrest the Chief of Defense Staff, Cabinet Ministers and senior military officers.

The Court-Martial found seven soldiers guilty of the alleged crime and set free four others. The two accused persons whose matter is set for summary judgement were tried separately in a Court-Martial at Yundum Barracks but in connection to the ‘Whatsapp’ group that the twelve were said to have been involved. During the trial of the twelve soldiers, the two defendants were serving in Darfur, but were arrested upon their return and detained for some time before their trial at the Court-Martial.

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