The High court in The Gambia has finally set a hearing date for the embattled journalist and managing director of Taranga FM, Alhaji Ceesay. Alhaji was scheduled to go to court on October 13, but the case was called off because of lack of high court judge. The Judge hearing his case, Justice Mohammed Ban Azumi Balarabe was said to have travelled to his native country for vacation and not even his clerk knew when he was set to return. The case is now scheduled for November 11 and Justice Abi is expected to preside over it. The world’s attention is now turned on Justice Abi as to how the case will be handled after the witnesses fled the country.
The ongoing trial of Taranga FM radio station Manager, Alagie Ceesay has been roundly condemned by the International Community and Gambian political activists as a sham. The State’s star witnesses, Fatoumata Drammeh and Zainab Kone have since absconded the country because they didn’t want to serve as false witnesses against Alagie Ceesay who they see as an innocent man. And if there are any indication, the world community after all has good reason to doubt the credibility of this entire case. Both Fatoumata and Zainab were Protocol Officers at the State House.
With the new discovery by Faturadio Investigative Team of an elaborate scheme by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), in collaboration with Africell (the Cell Phone company with which Alagie’s phone line is subscribed) and Jimbe Jammeh, a Protocol Officer at the State House to frame Alagie Ceesay, any attempt to send this man to prison will represent abuse of power at its best.
Alagie Ceesay was first arrested on July 2nd 2015, by the NIA. He was held incommunicado for 2 weeks during which time he was also severely tortured. On July 13, they dropped him off for dead on the roadside around the Airport. His release was met with a big sigh of relief by family, human rights and journalist groups, and the media who were by now making noise around the world demanding his unconditional release since he hadn’t been charged with any crime.
However, it turned out to look like his well-wishers celebrated way too soon, for just when they thought his ordeal was finally over, Alagie was rearrested on the night of July 16. What happened before and after this arrest exposes the true intent of his captors – the system is determined to put this poor guy away for good by hook or crook.
Before being picked up, the NIA went to Africell and asked to have a SIM card assigned with Alagie’s number and have his phone blocked temporary. Once these were done, the NIA sent via Whatsapp, a picture text image of President Jammeh with a gun and bullet pointing to his head with the heading Sniper 15. Prior to this, the same picture was circulating on the Internet where it was posted by Fatou Camara of Faturadio, who in turn received it from anonymous sources in The Gambia.
According to both Zainab and Fatoumata, they both received a call from an NIA agent who would only identify himself as Kay as soon as they received this text. He informed them of the arrival of the text and instructed them not to delete it. When Faturadio researched who this Kay could be, the description could fit only one agent called Kebba Secka. Even when Alagie was in custody, text messages continued to be sent to the girls’ phones from supposedly this same phone number.