Oct 7, 2009, 5:00 AM
The Special Criminal Court yesterday convicted and sentenced seventeen persons believed to be rebels from the southern Senegalese region of Casamance.
The convicts, who were standing trial for illegal entry into the country and being in possession of arms and ammunition, were convicted and sentenced to a fine of D5,000 in default to serve two years in prison on count one and a fine of D2,000 each in default to serve one year in prison on count two.
However, the eleventh accused person was discharged on count two.
Both sentences are to run concurrently.
The convicted persons, including Yusupha Ceesay, Modou Lamin Badjie, Saku Jammeh, Zackaria Jatta, Tijan Camara, Mafuji Jarju, Abdoulie Sonko, Hatab Jatta, Abdou Badjie, Ebrima Jarju, Sang Sambou, Basiru Jammeh, Seedy Sanyang, Tumani Manga, Alasana Jarju and Aziz Kujabi, earlier denied the charges.
They were first arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on 13th October 2010 and charged with one count of being in possession of an assortment of arms of war and ammunitions without authority.
According to the particulars of offence, Yusupha Ceesay and 16 others sometime in October 2010 at Bulock and Bajana villages in the Western Region were found in possession of an assortment of arms of war and ammunitions without authority.
In delivering judgement, Justice Joseph Ikpala stated that the accused persons were charged with illegal entry into The Gambia without a permit and being in a possession of arms and ammunition.
He said that the accused persons denied the charges preferred against them, adding that the prosecution had called five witnesses in support of their case and tendered 36 exhibits.
According to him, the convicted person testify on their own behalf without calling any witness.
Justice Ikpala told the court that the prosecution witness’s evidence was never discredited under any circumstances, adding that their evidence corroborated and supported the charges against the accused persons.
He said the prosecution had proven their case beyond all reasonable doubt, and subsequently found the accused persons guilty as charged.
The accused persons, who all begged the court for mercy were convicted and sentenced accordingly.
The court also ordered the exhibits to be destroyed.