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Mr. Cherno Njie, a Texas real estate developer and an alleged financier of the failed Banjul coup, has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him by the United States Government in violation of the Neutrality ACT.  Mr. Njie is also expected to leave Minnesota tomorrow by himself and to report to a “half-house” (transition house) in Texas upon arrival. Most importantly, he has been given the green light to continue running his real estate business but must utilize a surrogate (third party) for internet related business operations.

Cherno’s Defense Attorney argued that Mr. Njie is a businessman without any criminal record. Furthermore, the Defense Attorney trashed the U.S Government attorney’s submissions as “mere allegations” and not factually established. The defense similarly posited all that the Government prosecutor submitted was a “document” and Mr. Njie is innocent till proven guilty in a competent court of law. The defense attorney also recognized the presence of Cherno’s wife and brother, Mrs. Fatou Njie and Ndongo Njie respectively, who flew from Texas to wittiness the court hearing.

During recess, the author of the piece approached the Government attorney for comments on the current happenings in the Gambia.  He humbly admitted he knows little about the Gambia as he is in a low position on assignment from the U.S Government in Washington DC. U.S Federal Magistrate Steven E. Rau found Gambia’s alleged December 30th 2014 Coup alleged financier, Cherno Njie, legible for bail. As a consequent, he wasted no time in releasing Cherno Njie to his hometown of Texas.

At that point, the Government attorney who ran out of luck advanced that Mr. Njie was the main financier of the foiled coup. He tendered a document allegedly written by the coup plotters in preparation for the takeover. That didn’t deter Magistrate Rau who took a longer recess to make that heavy call from the powers vested in him.  The Government attorney then asked to be given till tomorrow morning to see if they will appeal Judge Rau’s decision to grant Mr. Njie bail, which shows that the decision favored Cherno Njie. The Judge granted the U.S Government till tomorrow at noon to appeal or have Mr. Njie leave for Texas.

The Minnesota Civil Rights Local chapter showed full solidarity and celebrated today’s victory. Many callers from out of state and heads of other Civil Rights called to show solidarity and to celebrate the court victory.  U.S Federal Magistrate Steven E. Rau has been hailed by many attendees of his court as an upright man. Many described him as a reasonable Judge, who won’t settle for Government’s mere allegations. It is hoped and believed by what he demonstrated so far, he will deliver justice, despite the numerous odds against the accused.

Commentators after the court hearing observed that the U.S government will not have the victory it wanted on this case due to lack of factual evidence as argued by the defense attorney that such “document” was not evidence but just “mere allegations.”  Others opined that the U.S government is setting some wrong precedence by its persistence to prosecute these alleged coup plotters despite the existence of the U.S Neutrality ACT.  Suffice it to say that if you are fighting any war, you must ensure that you are on the right side of history. Needless to say in this case, the U.S Government is not despite knowing fully the vicious dictatorship in the Gambia. The U.S Government’s effort to prosecute these heroes viewed by many as yet a political hypocrisy.  Persecuting people trying to liberate their country from the clutches of tyranny is political thuggery and an insult to democracy.

Many believe the Jammeh administration will not update Gambians on actual developments of the trial particularly the granting of bail to the alleged plotters.  From their track records, they only inform the news starved Gambians with information that favors the government such as the guilty plea of Papa Faal. All said and done, all three defendants have been granted bail in U.S Federal Courts. Moreover, they can go back to work and carry on with their everyday normal life. This is at least commendable and deserves some recognition. The fundamental question which remains is Will the U.S Neutrality ACT law be waived or repelled? The answer is coming to you soon…

By Yero Jallow

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