On Wednesday June 8 2016 the entire defense team comprising of the most senior members of the Gambian Bar Association representing lawyer Ousainou Darboe and his co-defendants angrily walked out of the courtroom in Banjul. The dramatic action was the culmination of a deliberate and persistent effort by the regime of Yahya Jammeh to railroad innocent citizens through a corrupt and subverted judicial process. Using mercenary judges, unethical prosecutors, lying and conniving security personnel, the government has effectively conspired to engage in a criminal persecution enterprise using the court proceedings as a foil. Week after week, the presiding judges, prosecutors, prison officers and the other myriad of security services have engaged in overt schemes to violate the constitution, trial procedures and even the enforcement of its own orders regarding the rights of the innocents they have been illegally detaining since mid-April. They have demonstrated utter contempt for the law and procedure and insisted on continuing in their immoral and unlawful conduct in the guise of a trial.
Clear trial procedures requested by the defense such as staying proceedings until constitutional matters before the Supreme Court are settled are routinely denied by the presiding judge obviating the cardinal legal principle that obliges lower courts to defer to the superior court on matters pending before them. Additionally, the presiding judge has consistently refused to enforce her own orders in matters relating to the welfare of the detainees, in effect allowing prison officers to continue violating the rights of the prisoners. All of which point to a judge and judicial system determined to not deliver justice or even the pretense of fairness
The defendants, their gallant lawyers and the Gambian people have put their foot down and will no longer per take in the farce of a trial that the tyrannical regime of Yahya JAMMEH is pursuing. The detainees will not put up of a defense and will consider the entire charade the judiciary is engaged in as equivalent to the worst Appathied South Africa directed at the ANC. The dictatorship will have to take full ownership of its immoral judicial chicanery and deliver its precooked verdicts on its own. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe in his only statement today (Thursday June 9 2016) after being insolently told by the corrupt presiding judge to proceed in his own defense made it clear that he and the rest of the defendants will have absolutely nothing to do with her bias proceedings. As we enter this phase of our struggle to end tyranny and regain our country and freedom, we urge all patriots to remain steadfast in our determination to reclaim our Gambia. Do not despair, do not be fearful and remain focused on the objective.
Below we produce the records of proceedings from the court
THE STATE V OUSAINOU DARBOE AND 19 ORS
Transcript of proceedings of 9th June 2016.
Before Justice Dada Case called
SH BARKUM – Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
MB M. B. ABUBAKAR – Deputy Director of Public Prosecution
B DRAMMEH – Bubacarr Drammeh
DPP: My Lord, this matter is for hearing. Subject to your convenience, we are ready to proceed.
Court – Ruling
Since the Defence Counsels for the accused persons walked out of the court in yesterday’s proceedings. The accused persons are charged with offences to which the accused persons can defend themselves in the absence of their counsel. Therefore the case shall proceed.
WITNESS SWORN ON THE QURAN IN ENGLISH
|DPP||What is your name?|
|WITNESS||My names are Deputy Superintendent Musa Sanyang|
|DPP||Where do you live?|
|WITNESS||I live in Farato|
|DPP||What is your occupation?|
|WITNESS||I am a Police Officer.|
|DPP||What is your rank in the Police?|
|WITNESS||Deputy Superintendent of Police|
|DPP||Which unit of the Police are you attached to?|
|WITNESS||The Police Intervention Unit.|
|DPP:||Do you have any particular or special designation in that unit?|
|WITNESS||I am the Officer Commanding Operations.|
|DPP||Can you tell the Court the nature of Police Intervention Unit? What do you do as officers of the PIU?|
|WITNESS:||Our roles are many. One, we are responsible for public disrupt when it happens.|
|DPP||Are you responsible for public order?|
|DPP||What other things form part of your duties?|
|WITNESS||Patrol duties and guarding the VIP and other security duties.|
|DPP||Is there any other thing apart from what your mentioned?|
|WITNESS||Sometimes we guard high-profiled cases to prevent violence.|
|DPP||Do you know or recognise the accused persons?|
|WITNESS||I know some of them.|
|DPP||Who is the person you recognise?|
|WITNESS||I recognise Ousainou Darboe.|
|DPP||What do you say about the faces apart from Ousainou Darboe?|
|DPP||Do you know the reason why they are in court?|
|WITNESS||Yes I know the reason why they are in court.|
|DPP||Cast your mind back to the 16th day of April 2016 and tell the Court what you can remember pertaining to this case?|
|WITNESS||On the 16th April 2016, whilst at our base PIU Kanifing, we got an intelligence report that there were people violent at Kairaba Avenue and are planning to make a protest march. Therefore, a riot team of police officers were deployed along the Kairaba Avenue.|
|DPP||Where were you when the team was sent to Kairaba Avenue?|
|WITNESS||I was part of the team. We were to monitor the situation. We are on patrol and proceeded to Kairaba Avenue Police station and we were on stand-by there. Whilst on stand-by with my men, I received information that the people at Kairaba Avenue had moved on foot to a larger number protesting towards Westfield. There, I and my team quickly got on board our truck at Kairaba station and immediately followed the protesters along Kairaba Avenue up to somewhere around Comium Headquarters. We saw that the traffic was completely at halt- blocked and cannot pass through. And then we managed to take another route and overtook them up to a distance of 200 meters. We were in front of them and alighted from the truck and were formed up with our riot gears.|
|DPP||What is a riot gear?|
|WITNESS||That is our batons, assault gears, assault rifle. As they are coming about to reach to us. I first of all ask them if they have the permit.|
|DPP||How did you do that?|
|WITNESS||I did that by using a PA system.|
|DPP:||What is a PA system?|
|WITNESS||A big Mic. A public Addressing System. They failed to produce a permit and I quickly used the public proclamation words to them.|
|DPP||What are the Public Proclamation words?|
|WITNESS||In the name of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, all persons assembled here are ordered to disperse peacefully and to go to their lawful business. Persons who did not disperse will be liable to disperse by force.|
|DPP||So after the public proclamation words, what happened?|
|WITNESS||After the public proclamation words were read to them, the protesters insist and still go ahead with the march of which the riot police did not give them the chance to go on with the march.|
|DPP||So what happened?|
|WITNESS||In that situation, the protesters started throwing big stones on us the riot police. There the riot police also responded and used minimum force on them by using our tear gases on the protesters. That was the time some of them started dispersing and running. But with all that we were able to arrest a number of them at the scene.|
|DPP||Who were the protesters you arrested at the scene?|
|WITNESS||I said earlier Ousainou Darboe was there.|
|DPP||Why did you arrest them?|
|WITNESS||Because as the unit responsible for maintaining public order at that point in time, the security and peace of the country was at stake. People were running. Businesses were closing their shops and the traffic was obstructed. And even the shops around that end or areas, most of the glasses were broken by the stones from the protesters. Also during the process of that protest, some of my officers sustained injuries. Some of them have seals. As a result of the stoning from the protesters. Because of our swift intervention, after arresting a good number of them, then they were calm down with the intervention of the police.|
|DPP||Can you tell the Court the way and manner the accused were conducting themselves? How were they marching?|
|WITNESS||They were in lining-up formula and holding each other’s hands.|
|DPP:||What is lining-up formula?|
|WITNESS||Meaning they were in lining-up formula holding each other’s hands tightly and matching.|
|DPP||What other things happened or you can remember?|
|WITNESS||Apart from what I said, I can’t remember anything.|
|DPP||Who were the members of your team when all this happened?|
|WITNESS||Some of them- Chief Inspector Sarjo Camara, Sub-Inspector Colley, Sub-Inspector Mustapha Sowe, Corporal Ousman Jammeh and others.|
|DPP||That’s all for the witness, my Lord.|
|JUSTICE DADA||Yes, cross- examination by the accused persons.|
|OUSAINOU DARBOE||From the first day of my appearance with my colleagues in court, every human right, procedural right protection provided by the Constitution and other laws has been ignored. I appealed to the court to use your discretion judiciously and judicially. I have been a legal practitioner for 43 years and I should know when discretion is exercised judiciously and judicially.
When the case was called this morning and you ruled that since the defence counsels walked out of the court in the previous sitting, the accused person should represent themselves. The proper thing was for the court to have asked if the accused persons wish to hire the services of another counsel of their choice. The court should not have imposed on us to defend ourselves. That is a denial of our rights.
In view of this, my Lady, we will not take participate in this trial to legitimise our pre-arranged conviction.
|JUSTICE DADA||I want to ask you this question: Are you speaking the minds of the 19 accused persons?|
|OUSAINOU DARBOE||This is political trial involving me and my people. Thus, we are not taking part in the case to legitimise our pre-arranged conviction.
|JUSTICE DADA||In light of the accused persons not cross-examining the witness, the witness is discharged.|
|DPP||Since the 1st accused is not counsel, the court should ask each accused person about his position.|
|OUSAINOU DARBOE||I am not counsel but I speak for my people.|
|CLERK||ReadS the names of each accused persons and asked if they have anything to say.
All the accused persons remained silent after each accused person’s name was called by the Clerk of the Court.
|DPP||My lord, we apply for an adjournment for continuation of hearing.|
|COURT||Case adjourned to 13th June 2016 for continuation.|