Fatou Camara says NIA officers destroyed her body

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

UDP’s Fatou Camara on 11 February, 2019, said before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul that NIA officers have destroyed her body because of severe beating. She was continuing her testimony while she was being led by Counsel Combeh Gaye.

Lawyer Antouman Gaye announced his representation along with counsels; Mendy, Senghore and Combeh Gaye, and the defence was represented by Lawyers Mene, Chime, Jallow and Dago.

Counsel Combeh Gaye reminded Fatou Camara that she told the court that she spent 20 days at the NIA, which she confirmed. She told the court that after spending 20 days at the NIA, she was beaten and taken to hospital, adding that she had nothing to put on after her confrontation with the NIA.

She adduced that it was Sergeant Jeng who brought her two dresses, as well as Fatoumata Jawara and Nogoi Njie, noting that she took off her wrapper which smelled badly. She testified that she lost her eye sight and suffered from serious pain because of the beating.

Fatou Camara revealed that Sergeant Jeng came and said that they would be released by Yankuba Badjie, and she eventually left the NIA and was taken to Mile 2 where she spent some time along with Fatoumata Jawara, Fa Lang Sonko, Kafu Bayo, Modu Ngum, Lamin Marong and another man whose surname is Jabang.

She stated that from Mile 2, they were taken to MacCarthy Prison where she could not neither sit down nor walk and talk, disclosing that she had waist pain. She further narrated that she was treated at RVTH and in Senegal when she was released, adding that she was taken from MacCarthy Prison and taken back to Mile 2 because lawyers pleaded on her behalf.

She said that she was taken to court while she was at MacCarthy Prison, stating that the judge told them that they would be sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

At this juncture, Counsel Combeh Gaye asked her whether she recovered from her injuries. Defence Counsel Mene objected that the question was not relevant, but his objection was overruled by the judge.

Fatou Camara finally told the court that she is still suffering from some pain.

Under cross-examination by Counsel Mene, she was told that they were taken from Mile 2 to the NIA at 2 a.m., in response, she said that she could not remember the time. It was put to her that before they were taken to Mile 2, the junglers called to find out whether they were all dead. She replied that she could not remember.

She further told the court that she did not talk to any police officer because they were detained. At this juncture, Counsel Mene read a statement and told her that she was at the time 55 years old and that her telephone number was 9930169, which she confirmed.

It was put to her that on 17 June, 2017, a police officer, 6449 Manneh, took her witness statement. She answered that she did not know. It was again put to her that Manneh read the statement and she thumb-printed it but she said she did not know Manneh.

At this juncture, the statement was shown to her and told that the thumb-print on the statement was hers but she denied it. Counsel Mene then applied to tender the statement as an ID, stating that the statement was served to the defence by the prosecution, and that the document was prepared by the police. He argued that the witness confirmed her age and telephone number on the document. He adduced that if the witness denied that she thumb-printed the document; there would be many questions to be answered. He said that his application was for identification purposes.

Counsel Combeh Gaye then rose and objected that the witness did not identify the document as her own. The presiding judge then upheld the objection in favour of the prosecution, and the document was not admitted.

Under cross-examination by Counsel Jallow, Fatou Camara told the court that she did not participate in the demonstration on 14 April, 2016, but was slapped. She confirmed that she was thrown into a truck and taken away, indicating that she saw PIU officers running after people and throwing them into the truck. She added that she saw neither a stick nor a gun with the PIU officers.  She maintained that she did not narrate anything to the police, disclosing that she saw them writing but did not know what they were writing. She told Counsel Jallow not to raise her emotion because she did not talk to the police. She was asked whether she was convicted at the High Court because she participated in the demonstration, and she said that they used power and convicted them.

At this juncture, Counsel Dago asked her why she refused treatment at the NIA. She responded that she did not trust them. It was put to her that during her detention at the NIA, she did not sustain any injuries, but she said she had several injuries. It was again put to her that she exaggerated her testimony, and she said she told the court what happened to her.

The case continues.       

Author: Dawda Faye