Statement by a group of advocates on the rape case involving Bubacarr Bob Keita.
Yesterday, 11th August 2020, Justice SM Jallow of the Bundung High Court, granted bail to Bubacarr Bob Keita, who is standing trial for the rape and impregnation of 15-year-old Mama*.
We are disappointed by the ruling at today’s bail hearing, and the bad precedent it sets for cases of sexual violence in The Gambia. This ruling goes against the principles of protecting the best interests of the victim and is an affront to our human rights and justice system.
Today, an accused rapist has been allowed back into society, at the expense of a young victim, who has also been at the receiving end of insults and accusations, especially on Gambian social media. This is not just a setback for this particular case; it is a message to the many victims and survivors of sexual and other forms of Gender-Based Violence, and it is one that signals little hope for justice. It is yet another example of the rights and welfare of women and girls in The Gambia being trampled upon by the very systems created to protect them.
Over the past few weeks, we have closely followed this case, and have made calls for the attainment of justice and support for the victim. We have also been working to provide support to her and her child, using limited resources.
Bob Keita meeting President BarrowPrior to today’s sitting, we have provided updates on the bail hearing of 28th July 2020, with proceedings adjourned to 29th July 2020. Since then, the case has suffered 7 adjournments due to various reasons, including the reported illness of the Judge, his driver or both. As a result, the sittings were delayed for almost two weeks. In this period, there have also been reports of interference from persons associated with the State, with photographic and audio evidence of their visits to the family of the victim to negotiate an out-of-court settlement of the case.
We strongly condemn these acts of interference and call for a free and just trial.
We continue to stand in unreserved solidarity with Mama*, and our calls to ensure justice are even stronger today. We will continue to speak up to keep the needed attention on this case and ensure that justice is served for the victim.
We stand in solidarity with, and will continue to speak up and support all victims and survivors of sexual and other forms of Gender-Based Violence in The Gambia. We believe you! We will continue to fight for you.
*Name has been changed to protect the victim’s identity