Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gamcotrap Trial: ‘Prosecution failed woefully’

“The prosecution had failed woefully to prove their case against Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho and I hereby acquit and discharge them,” Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe of the Banjul Magistrates Court ruled after 25 months in the trial of the two women human rights activists.

Alagbe was delivering a judgment on Monday, Nov. 12 in a trial involving Dr. Isatou Touray, Executive Director and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, Programme Coordinator of The Gambia Committee against Harmful Traditional Practices (Gamcotrap) who were charged with one count of “theft” since 2010. They have always denied any wrong doing.

During the course of the trial, the prosecution called eight witnesses in support of their case, most notable among them was the Director of Spain-based Yolocamba Solidaridad and some senior female circumcisers from the Central River and Upper River regions of the Gambia.

Nonetheless, the Magistrate was unconvinced by the “prove” put forward by the prosecution as he decided to free the two women rights activists.
“To secure conviction, the prosecution should prove that the money was taken by the accused persons unlawfully,” he said. “The court is satisfied that the accused persons did not use the money for their personal income.”

The center of arguments at the court has been allegations that Dr. Touray and Mrs. Bojang-Sissoho had stolen €30000 (Euros), an allegation the Magistrate Alagbe said Dr. Touray and Amie Bojang Sissoho are found not guilty of.
 “No reasonable tribunal will convict the accused persons if the evidence is not sufficient to convict them, he said, announcing: “I hereby acquit and discharge Dr. Isatou Touray and Mrs. Amie Bojang-Sissoho.”


The two women’s rights activists who looks delighted by the verdict that vindicate them against allegations of theft, said "justice has been done." 

The two women right activists were arrested and detained on October 11, 2012 and first appeared in court on 12 October. Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea, presiding at the time, refused the two women bail and ordered for their remand at the State’s maximum security wing, the Mile II Central Prison for eight days.

The prosecution had alleged in their charge that “some time in 2009, in Banjul and diverse places in The Gambia, Dr. Touray and Mrs. Bojang-Sissoho jointly stole 30,000 Euros being money provided by the YOLOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to GAMCOTRAP.” Source: The Voice

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