Those that are familiar with Gambia under Yahya Jammeh will know that the judiciary is neither free nor fair, Jammeh is always interfering, especially when it comes to political cases in the courts. Darboe and Co’s trial is no exception, which led the defence team led by Antouma Gaye to walk away from the court on Wednesday 8th June. Since the appointment of a new judge in the case, Justice E.O Dada has acted and behaved bias, unfair and unprofessional towards the defence team and their clients by objecting every motion by the defence team and she also blatantly refused to drop four of the seven charges in order to retain the original three charges.
However, the defence team sought to be provided a private room for a client/attorney private meeting, but, the room was swamped by armed Paramilitary officers who refused to leave the room. The defence appealed to Justice Dada for her to intervene to stop the armed Paramilitary officers listening to their private conversation with their clients, however, the judge again refused to do so and said “I can’t stop the Para officers from entering the room and listening in.” This is a clear breached of the Gambian constitution which guarantees the rights of the defendants to privacy as well as attorney/client privileged.
As a result of these, the defence team thought it necessary to walk out of the court and vowed to never return unless their clients’ right to privacy with their attorney is respected by all parties involved in the case just as dictated by the laws of the land. All the defendants have also maintained similar stand and vowed to not participate in any court proceedings unless attorney/client confidentiality is respected and not interfered with by Paramilitary officers. Many observers have welcomed the move the defence team and the defendants have taken to see justice served and to delegitimize the entire court process.
This is not the first time, however, the state has been trying to frustrate the defence team, as it would be recalled that Nogoi Njie and Co’s case was moved from Banjul to a court in Mansa Konko some 250km away, which does not even have the jurisdiction to preside in the case, just to frustrate defendants and the defence team and delay the case for as long as it takes. Also, at the beginning of the case, the previous judge, Justice Ottaba ordered the prison officers to allow families to bring in food for the defendants but that order too was ignored. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the president of the Gambia Bar Association has resigned with immediate effect, however, it is not yet known, why?
In another development, the American embassy in Banjul has issued a statement that the embassy will be closed from Thursday 9th June for non-essential services due to Jammeh’s government unexpected withdrawal of police protection. The embassy will continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you informed as events unfold, the US embassy stated. Psychopathic Dictator Jammeh is angry at the Obama administration for refusing to cooperate with him and give longer sentences to Banka Manneh and Co, who were sentenced in America for participating in 30th December 2014 coup plot against Jammeh’s government.
Any political court proceedings in the Gambia just serve to legitimise the dictatorship in the country, because most outsiders and even some Gambians would assume that to be the right thing to do. However, the contrary is true, because Yahya Jammeh is always determined to jail or kill his political opponents and as a result, he gives orders to the judges and magistrates to put away his opponents. If any one fails to carry out his orders, if you are lucky you he fires you from your post or jail you for defying his orders. This is why, he hires Nigerians who masquerades as judges to come and carry out his dirty orders in the courts.