Saturday, September 22, 2012

LATEST: Twist in charges against Gambian journalists

Mr. Baboucarr Ceesay (L) and Abubacarr Saidykhan are charged for wanting to demonstrate peacefully: PHOTO/Daily News
The Voice understand the case of two Gambian journalist detained and charge following a request for a permit to hold a peaceful demonstration against the August execution of nine death row inmates has taken another twist.

Baboucarr Ceesay, a first vice president of Gambia Press Union and Abubacarr Saidykhan, a freelance journalist were arrested, detained, released and charged with conspiracy to commit felony on September 10. This was followed by an additional charge of “seditious intention” on September 19 against Baboucarr Ceesay, also a correspondent of the Nairobi-based media group, Nations Media.

Earlier media reports indicated that an initial charge of “incitement to violence” was dropped when the two were released from the Interpol Unit of the Gambia Police Force in the capital, Banjul, where they were detained.

However, Mr. Saidykhan told The Voice when he and Mr. Ceesay reported to the police on September 21, the police informed them of being unaware of telling them “the charge of incitement to violence was dropped.”   

“The police said they could not remember telling us that the charge of incitement to violence was dropped. They further confirm that the charge still stands,” Saidykhan said. 

“This development came as a surprise to us because initially we were told that it was dropped,” added Saidykhan who is expected to report to the police accompanied by his surety today (Monday). 

Meaning Ceesay is now facing three charges at the moment: “Incitement to violence, conspiracy to commit felony, and seditious intention.” While Saidykhan faces two charges: “Incitement to violence and conspiracy to commit felony.”

A date for a hearing is yet to be set, however, Saidykhan laments that amid all the developments in the case, he and Ceesay have not been shown the said charges or charge sheet. 

“In my opinion, it is trite law that justice delayed is justice denied. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done,” he argued.

Meanwhile, co-accused Baboucarr Ceesay is known to have flown to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopia where he is attending a week-long conference. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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