By Team Gom Sa Bopa
Yesterday, 29th January 2020, eight Three Years Jotna Executive members were remanded at Mile 2 for riotous destruction of The Gambia Technical Teaching Institute bus shed during a protest which occurred on 26th January 2020.
Team Gom Sa Bopa (TGSB) is utterly dismayed by the manner in which the Lower Courts and the Security Apparatus collaborate to remand citizens in an already very congested Mile 2.
Gambian Prosecutors are well aware that the third charge of riotous destruction of public building should be brought before a competent Court with jurisdiction, as demonstrated in the August 2019 trail of 37 individuals at Kanifing Magistrate Court. In that particular case after remanding some 37 individuals in Mile 2 for over two weeks, 30 of them were released with no charges to answer.
It’s expected that The Gambian Judiciary and Police Prosecutors should take cognizant of this. This precedent highlights the premeditated collaboration between the Security and the Judiciary to remand and punish citizens with the cruel, harrowing experience of Mile 2 soon after reading out serious charges.
TGSB insist that it’s the Prosecutors role to present appropriate charges to a competent Court and the Judiciary must not punish citizens for a Prosecutor’s insistence to present inappropriate charges to a Court without the appropriate competence and jurisdiction.
There are a number of options which the Court could have utilised to ensure that Justice is done and seen to be done swiftly.
- The Court had the option to hear the first two charges within its Jurisdiction and refer the third charge to a competent court with jurisdiction.
- Another option available to the Court is to throw out all three charges and to demand that the Prosecutors present appropriate charges to a competent Court with jurisdiction.
Instead the Courts continue to reward Prosecutors by remanding suspects in Mile 2. TGSB believes this to be an abuse of the judicial process and thereby an injustice to Three Years Jotna Executive and all other suspects who have been remanded in Mile 2 using such methods.
We therefore call on all Civil Society Organisations to join us to highlight this deficiency in the Judicial system, including legal action. Gambian courts must not continue to arbitrarily remand citizens without due process.
Team Gom Sa Bopa