Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

32 Gambian Refugees Facing Possible Removal from Malta

November 24, 2014
Reads :1001
One of the detainees in cuffs

One of the detainees in cuffs

A group of Gambian refugees currently at a detention camp in Malta are still at a risk of deportation despite public outcry over the past couple of months. If readers could recall the brutal regime of the Gambia struck a deal with the Maltese government to repatriate Gambians in detention camps in Malta some months ago. This deal caught international attention because of the appalling human rights situation in the Gambia. Gambians in the diaspora started confronting the Maltese government on their decision to return these Gambians; citing fears of possible torture, extrajudicial executions, and disappearance without trace. It came to the notice of Kibaaro that these Gambian refugees are still under detention and facing possible removal from Malta. They are said to be in detention for the past six months.

Kibaaro was able to get in touch with them. They express fear of possible removal from Malta into the hands of a government that is known for dishonoring agreements and gruesomely maltreating innocent citizens. We were informed that the group comprises of Gambians of different backgrounds; soldiers, businessmen, students…etc. The group speaking to Kibaaro express disappointment in the way they are treated at the detention camp. “We are treated like criminals despite the fact that we have not committed any crime as our movement is seriously curtailed” charged the purported spokesman of the group. He lamented that even when they fell sick and had to be transported to hospital for treatment they are put in handcuffs and chains. He also complained that their asylum cases are not fully processed and yet the authorities are adamant to send them back to Gambian which is breach of the refugee convention.

It is important to remind the government of Malta that the President of the Gambia is very unreliable. No government should strike a deal with a rogue state especially when it has to do with lives of refugees. It is the same Yahya Jammeh who made a proclamation some time ago that Gambian asylum seekers are out to tarnish the image of the country. We remind the Maltese government that a law which carries a heavy sentence has been enacted in the Gambia for so-called tarnishing the image of the country. There is a high risk that these Gambian youth in Maltese detention camps would be treated as enemies of the state and would therefore face full wrath of dictator Jammeh if forcefully returned home.

GAMBIA SEEKS THE ARREST OF DR. JANNEH

November 20, 2014
Reads :805
The Treason Charge T-Shirts of Dr Janneh

The Treason Charge T-Shirts of Dr Janneh

Jammeh Degage (Jammeh Must Go) slogan

Jammeh Degage (Jammeh Must Go) slogan

The Gambia government on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 issued an international arrest warrant for the arrest of it’s former Communications and Information Minister, Dr Amadou Scatred Janneh. The arrest warrant was issued by a Magistrate’s Court in Banjul, after prosecutors accused Dr. Janneh of treason.

Magistrate S Conteh issued the bench warrant following prosecution’s application for Dr Janneh to be extradited by Interpol.

The application for bench warrant is granted. Bench warrant is hereby issued for the accused to be brought back to face the charge,” Magistrate Conteh said.

The prosecutor, Alieu Faye, in convincing the court said: “The accused is out of the jurisdiction and we are applying for a bench warrant so that the accused can be brought back by the Interpol to face the charge,” he said.

Dr Janneh was previously arrested and charged with the same offence in the Gambia on 7 June 2011, after he was accused of possessing T-Shirts carrying the slogans: “End Dictatorship Now”. He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment by a Special Criminal Court in the country on 16 January 2012, only to be pardoned in September of the same year, after the Gambian charlatan President, Yahya Jammeh, bowed to international outrage over his atrocious mass murder of 9 Death Row in mates of the country’s central prison, Mile 2.

The move was widely regarded, at the time, as a bid to appease the international fury over his killings. President Jammeh in a melodramatic flourish invited the American civil right activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson to the Gambia to discuss what could be described as his unconditional release of Dr Janneh and another lifer, at the horrendous Mile 2 Central Prison at the time with US citizenship, Mr. Tamsir Jasseh. The release was officially announced as a Presidential pardon by the Jammeh administration, but that claim was later refuted by Dr. Janneh, who disclosed that they were in fact expelled from the country.

Since that indelible epoch, Dr Janneh had been championing the Gambian campaign for an end to the 20 years dictatorship of President Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia. He attended many talks, interviews, protests, demonstrations and writings on the issue. He was recently arrested in Senegal, on 14 November 2014, whilst being in possession of T-Shirts bearing slogans: “Jammeh Must Go; Waato Seeta, Jammeh Dagage”.

It is therefore reasonable to deduct that the Gambian authorities’ latest attempts to arrest Dr Janneh again relates to his possession of another T-Shirts carrying the same slogans.

It remained to be seen, whether Interpol will indeed effect the arrest warrant of the Gambian authorities based on such draconian charges. This is because Dr Janneh and the rest of Gambians ought to have an unfettered and unconditional right to freedom of expression, something which is alien language to the Gambian authorities…

MOMODOU SABALLY’S DETENTION CONTINUES – AS STATE CLAIMS MORE CHARGES

November 18, 2014
Reads :1018
Ex - SG Momodou Sabally

Ex – SG Momodou Sabally – still imprisoned

AntoumanGaye

Sabally’s Defense Lawyer – Antouman Gaye

The Gambia government still opposes the release on bail of their former Secretary General and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally. Mr Sabally, who was fired from the government on 7 July 2014, had since been held incommunicado and believed to have been severely tortured by the agents of his former employer, the Gambia government, during his continues detention.

He has since been trying to secure his release from arbitrary detention, for almost 4 months, but his efforts are yet to yield fruition. He last appeared in court in August 2014, when he was formally charged with 8 counts of offences ranging from economic crimes, abuse of office and giving false information, among many.

His bail application came to court, yesterday, 17 November 2014, when his counsel Antouman Gaye argued for his release on bail. However his application, which was submitted to the court on 16 October 2014 and supported by a 33 paragraphs sworn affidavit of his wife, Jainaba–Teeda Sarr,  was vehemently opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Hadi Saleh Barkun.

Mr Barkun, who filed a four paragraphs affidavit in response and in support of his motion, contended that when an application is made for the court to exercise its discretion, facts must be available from both sides, before the court can exercise its discretion judiciously and judicially.

He said the affidavit in support of the applicant, especially from paragraphs 1 to 26, were not tangible reasons for him to be granted bail.

“The first thing the court needs to take into consideration is the nature of the charge. The applicant is charged with eight counts which include two counts of economic crime, two counts of abuse of office and giving false information among others. The first two counts carry a minimum sentence of three years and maximum of ten years imprisonment. The prosecution has strong evidence against the applicant which are very strong and by considering the nature of the offence, there is likelihood that if the applicant is granted bail, he may abscond.

Furthermore, there is likelihood that more charges are to be filed against the applicant as investigation into the matter is still ongoing. So these are the factors the court should put into consideration before giving bail to the applicant.”

Based on the above, the state chief prosecutor urged the court not to grant bail to Sabally, but recommended for an accelerated hearing of the case.

 Earlier, the applicant’s lawyer, Lawyer Antouman Gaye had argued that:  

“all the offences are bailable offences and the applicant has good defence against all the charges. It is our humble submission that this application is brought under the provision of the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code… Furthermore, it is our submission that there is constitutional provision of bail in favour of the applicant,” Antouman Gaye said.

He contended that since the arrest of his client in July, no charges were preferred against him until August when he was brought before the court which initially remanded him in custody at the National Intelligence Agency offices.

“In criminal matters, when a court adjourns a case, if the accused is on bail, the procedure stipulated that the case can be adjourned within two weeks but if the accused is in detention the case can be adjourned within seven days, see section 162 of the CPC which is applicable at the lower court and section 226 which is also applicable at the high court,” he expounded.

Addressing the court on principles of granting bail, Mr Gaye asked the court to put the following into consideration: whether if granted bail, the applicant will abscond or commit other crimes; whether he would interfere with the witnesses; or whether he would interfere with the course of justice. He said Momodou Sabally is a citizen of The Gambia and has his roots in this country.

He argued that the continuous detention of Mr Sabally would erode the constitutional provision of his presumption of innocence and urged the court to exercise its discretion “judicially and judiciously” and grant bail to his client on reasonable conditions.

The case was adjourned and will resume on 25 November 2014 for ruling.

THE RAMIFICATIONS OF AMADOU SAMBA AND SEEDIA BAYO’S FRACAS IN SENEGAL

November 9, 2014
Reads :3551
SIDIA BAYO

SIDIA BAYO

AMADOU SAMBA PINNED DOWN

AMADOU SAMBA PINNED DOWN

“Let us not jump the gun”, cautioned veteran human rights activist, Sidi Sanneh as he soberly reflects on the news of Amadou Samba’s arrest in Dakar, Senegal. He went further to underpin, “Sedia Bayo may have scored the biggest propaganda coup of the Struggle by dragging and kicking screaming Amadou Samba across a Radisson Bleu Hotel lobby. To humiliate the single most influential Gambian of the Jammeh regime who is also its staunchest and most reliable supporter is equivalent to a slap in the face of Yahya Jammeh. That said Sedia Bayo, and especially members of his security entourage, must be ready to face the force of the Senegalese law should the so-called “arrest” and the ensuing scuffle is ruled as an assault on the person of Amadou Samba who, according to sources, is on a private visit to Dakar.”

The news spread like bush fire and many became jubilant and festive that Amadou Samba has been arrested and detained in Senegal. Others queried the rationale of his “arrest and detention” particularly in Dakar, Senegal.  I wondered aloud, what is his crime? As I joggled my mind through tonnes of probabilities, I settled for his association and abetting a dictatorial regime. Amadou Samba, on the one hand, is directly responsible for what befell him from his assailants as a result of his open support for Dictator Jammeh.  On the other hand, how can a wealthy and influential man like Amadou Samba be wondering in the lobbies of hotels in Senegal without personal guards knowing his association with Jammeh?   Lamentable as it is, Amadou is not just an ordinary business man. He is a prominent and influential representative of the dictatorial Jammeh regime. If not, why did the government hastily jumped into his defence by running a news headline on GRTS that “Amadou Samba, a Gambian business man was not arrested and detained in Dakar, Senegal but was attacked by criminals”. Gambian diplomats are currently arraigned before a court of law in the UK, why didn’t the Jammeh government jump into their defence but rather opted to zip its lips on its very own diplomats? Some actions are more explicit than words.

“Let us be careful”, admonished Mr Sanneh , “The incident may have unintended consequences that may end up affecting the Gambian exile community in Dakar, and which may include, but not limited to, current residence requirements of the dissident community. Infraction of local laws (if that is what happened here) is not something that the Senegalese will tolerate, if it is established that indeed laws have been broken.” At this juncture, one may ask what are the ramifications of the Amadou Samba and Sedia Bayo fracas in Dakar, Senegal. First and foremost, at the national level, the two governments of the Gambia and Senegal both have interest in this case and if not handled with care, honesty and justice, it may breed catastrophic consequences. The mere fact that the Jammeh government is sending a high powered delegation to Senegal clearly signifies that Jammeh is prepared to pursue this case to any level.

The Senegalese government will not want the Jammeh regime to see it tolerating Gambian dissidents using its territory to coordinate and execute attacks on the Gambian government. On the other hand, it does not also want France to see it as a puppet of Jammeh especially where its citizen is involved. Moreover, Jammeh wants to see all Gambian dissidents kicked out of Senegal and this is an opportune moment to further that agenda. The best option for the Senegalese government is to completely stay out of the case and let its Police Department and judiciary handle it without any duress. Whatever the outcome of the case, it will then be seen as justice running its course. The Senegalese Judiciary is celebrated for its independence until the arrest and detention of Karim Wade. Albeit, Karim’s case is viewed by many as political and the judiciary is dragging its feet on the case, it still remains independent.

Politically, this case will yield lasting repercussions. For instance, even if Macky Sall acts impartially, it will not go down well with Jammeh. If Sedia Bayo is convicted, the Gambian nonconformist, the French government and human rights activists will consider it as political persecution. Others are postulating that Jammeh may not pursue the case any further as Amadou Samba was heard denouncing his association with him as he pleaded for mercy with his assailants. Even if Amadou disowned Dictator Jammeh, President Jammeh will still use this case to settled scores with the Macky government. Jammeh has always perceived the Sall regime as providing safe haven for Gambian dissidents in Senegal. Suffice it to say, the Senegalese government will do whatever it can to prove that it is acting according to international protocols. Readers will recall the Macky government extraditing the late Kukoi to Mali and recently, it is refusing entry to any Gambian refugee with refugee travel documents. The Macky regime has a list of Gambian dissidents at the Yoff Airport and anyone who is blacklisted will not be given entry clearance in Senegal. To me all that amounts to appeasing Dictator Jammeh. The case is murky and Macky should not succumb to duress from Banjul. Let the law runs its course and whoever is guilty should pay. For anyone who is not prepared to do the term should not commit the crime.

The lessons of the case varied. For President Jammeh, it indicates that his enablers are vulnerable outside the Gambia. He is equally vulnerable too, but it may not sink in his deluded head that he is touchable. It further demonstrates that anyone who openly supports and abets the dictatorial regime in the Gambia will be hunt down the streets of Banjul and drag into courts of law to face justice. The fracas also emboldens Gambians in the diaspora and home that dictators are cowards. They are always reduced to cry babies under captivity. Gaddafi did it and now Amadou Samba has joined the list. If Amadou Samba can quickly and easily denounce Jammeh by just grabbing and dragging him in a hotel lobby, it spells that their loyalty to the dictator is cosmetic. His loyalty is raptured.

PRESIDENT JAMMEH LAMBASTED BY UNITED NATIONS FOR LYING

November 7, 2014
Reads :2591
GAMBIA'S DELUDED MONSTER

GAMBIA’S DELUDED MONSTER

UN SECRETARY GENERAL

UN SECRETARY GENERAL

Barely two weeks ago Dictator Jammeh sent his Justice Minister as an emissary to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to resuscitate his dying regime. Amongst many spin lies which Minister Mahoney told the edified council was “There is no detention without trial in the Gambia. Prisoners’ rights are well protected. Furthermore, Gambia supports the 72 hour law of detention and where it exceeds; people go to court and file habeas corpus”. Perhaps, the deluded Gambian Dictators thought the UN Human Rights Council would be convinced by his whitewashed dossier and not travel to the Gambia to separate chaff from the grains of his doggy-dossier.

First, he ran to Jangbureh ducking and diving his backside in the rice field posing as a leader effacing hunger for his people. What many of the muzzled Gambians with him at the rice field did not know, was he swop national duty for a personal one and avoiding the UN veteran investigators for illegal killings and tortures. When he realised his gimmicks did not wade off the investigators patience, he told them that the wailing nation was in observance of the Muslim end of year Eid. Like the determination of a starving person looking at a delicious meal, the investigators waited patiently to accomplish their mission.

The decisive moment finally projected itself when the investigators asked to be led to the security wind of Mile II prison. Hell, broke loose and Dictator Jammeh manifested his monstrous side by refusing the investigators access. They were dismayed by the Jammeh’s government refusal for them to visit a prison which they were informed by the same government it was not only given a facelift but prisons are accorded their full rights. Christof Heyns and Juan Mendez said in a joint press release “ an inference must be drawn that there is something important to hide. This incident forced us to suspended this integral part of the visit”.

The release went on to add, “We would like to recall the duty of the government to take measures to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts and to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces”. The blocking and sabotaging this first ever UN human rights investigators from completing their probe into killings and tortures by the Jammeh regime accentuates what Gambian nonconformists have been advocating for the past twenty years . Heyns, who is UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, concluded, “Our inability to visit sections of a Banjul prison despite written guarantees obtained in advance suggested the government had something to hide”.

On the death sentence, the UN veteran investigators asserted, “According to available evidence, the death sentences were imposed in violation of international fair trial standards, including the most serious crimes provisions”. Readers will recall that in August 2012, Monster Jammeh ordered the unlawful execution of 9 Mile II death row inmates to fulfil his marabou’s directive.

As we go to press, a young Gambian, Sait Matty Jaw, is currently unlawfully detained for more than 72 hour stipulated by law. His whereabouts remains a mystery and his safety highly feared. Mr Jaw is a lecturer at the Gambia University who has no political affiliation whatsoever. He is still neither charged nor released by his captors. It is highly believed that Mr Jaw is undergoing chilling tortures from his captors.

A GRADE 5 GIRL SEXUALLY VIOLATED IN BASSE

October 30, 2014
Reads :1129

STOP RAPING OUR DAUGHTERS

STOP RAPING OUR DAUGHTERS

IGP SONKO

IGP SONKO

Recently, the Upper River Region administrative area has been inundated with graphic rape cases of under aged girls as young as 10. Basse which was known for its hospitality, amazing landscape and cosy night clubs has meandered into a sinister dwelling for the Basse girl child. The outrageous rape on Sunday of a grade five pupil in the Upper River Region (URR) calls for concerted efforts to curb this increasing menace in it bud once and for all by all and sundry in the region particularly its authorities.

Kibaaro News informant disclosed that the unremorseful felon, Mr S.C, had been molesting the 10 year old girl, whose name has been withheld for legal reasons, for day after severing her tender and fragile virginity on Thursday before his luck extinguished. The 35 year old divorcee is currently helping the Basse Police in their investigation over the alleged rape case. The police remained tied lip by refraining from shedding any light on the case.

Unlike the police, the Regional Education Director for Region 6, Claudine Cole did not hesitate in registering her profound displeasure of the inhumane molestation of her pupil. Speaking to the press, she rebukes: “Such kinds of incidents are so sad and I am deeply frustrated to hear the raping of school children in the region”.  She went further to inform the press that her office is doing all it takes to ensure that students are protected from all forms of sexual abuses as her department continues its immense sensitisation campaign.

The educationist implored parents to be more vigilant and take proper care of their children particularly by monitoring their movements after school hours.  “We have a radio programme every week in Basse during which we talk to parents about the reoccurrence of rape cases and early marriage among others in the region,” she concluded.

Also reacting to this latest series of unsettling rapes cases in the region was Mr Kebba Susso, chairperson of the region’s Parent Teacher Association. Mr Susso urges the security and social services to wake up from their slumbers and tackle this monstrous crime head on. “Concerted efforts are urgently required from all stakeholders in the region to put their hands on deck in ushering out this scandalous crime from our midst. Parents must equally step up and execute their fundamental obligations and duties”, charged Mr Susso. He pressures severe action to be taken against the perpetrators to deter others from venturing into the despicable felony. “We are working very closely with the Police, Education and Social Welfare departments to foster awareness on the consequences of rape on both victims and perpetrators and its health implications”, he assured the press.

Basse is a closely-knitted society and its sons and daughters should not stand by and watch it fall in disarray. The youth force should start policing its community by reporting any suspected felon to the alkalo, chief and police. Basse belongs to us all and only us can develop and protect it.

“GAMBIA HAS NO HUMAN RIGHTS PROBLEMS”, JUSTICE MINISTER MAHONEY TELLS UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

October 28, 2014
Reads :1567
MINISTER MAHONEY

MINISTER MAHONEY

WHAT HAPPENED O FREEDOM AND JUSTICE?

WHAT HAPPENED O FREEDOM AND JUSTICE?

In traditional Africa, children are taught at an early age not to point at their father’s village with a left hand, despite all its underdevelopment and worrisome social cohesion. Perhaps that is what Minister Mahoney sets out to do as he stood at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva defending Gambia’s indefensible human rights records under President Jammeh’s watch. It is not only off-putting but also inexcusable for Minister Mahoney to unashamedly endeavour to white-wash Gambia’s human rights records which are an open secret for all and sundry.

“There is no detention without trial in the Gambia. Prisoners’ rights are well protected. Furthermore, Gambia supports the 72 hour law of detention and where it exceeds, people go to court and file habeas corpus”, Justice Minister Mahoney told the bemused UNHRC today.

Who is Basiru Mahoney trying to fool and/or achieve by coming up with such preposterous assertion? Certainly, not even China. Pa Samba Jow reminds Minister Mahoney, “If china is concerned about your human rights record, then you damn well know that you have a seriously rotten human rights record”.

Dr Amadou S Janneh who is one of the survivors of Gambia’s appalling human rights records forewarns, “Minister Mahoney will someday regret this: says government totally adheres to constitutional provision requiring detainees to be charged within 72 hours. Some of his predecessors and former colleagues (in jail) will disagree”.

Gambia’s prisoners are the most malnourished in the whole world, with no rights whatsoever, yet Justice Minister Mahoney has the audacity to tell the world that Mile II has been recently given a facelift and prisoners receive quality food. In support of his government’s muzzling of freedom of expression, he opined criminal laws are necessary in the Gambia to curb false information which devastates small Gambia. On the death penalty, Minister Mahoney said the moratorium was only lifted in 2012 due to the spate of crime.

The world is neither asleep nor ignorant of what goes in the Gambia. This was punctuated in Ambassador Harper of the USA statement in response to Justice Minister Mahoney’s dismissible report, “The United State is deeply dismayed by the human rights situation in The Gambia. Among other things, we are concerned by government interference with the electoral process; and government harassment and abuse of critics, including restrictions of freedom of the press and speech of Gambian citizens and journalists, and reports of torture, arrest, detention, and sometimes enforced disappearances of citizens for exercising their human rights. We are also concerned about discrimination against Gambian citizens based on sexual orientation or gender identity, trafficking in persons, forced child marriage, child prostitution, and exploitative child labour.”

Pata PJ surmised, “Does look like every country rep out there have a chance to whip poor little Gambia. I’m sure they’re ‘deeply concerned’ for Gambians but quite aware that the country has a moron for a president and none of these concerns would mean anything to him. It’s best they start reconsidering their relationship with him to genuinely push the agenda for respecting rights. Yaya is mentally handicapped to comprehend all these”.