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D20 Fine for US Embassy Protester

Mar 11, 2009, 9:06 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

One Momodou Bojang, a Gambian national, was on Monday 9th March 2009 convicted and sentenced by Senior Magistrate Abdoulie Mbake of the Kanifing Magistrates Court to a fine of D20 or in default to serve one month imprisonment.

He was convicted following his own plea of guilty to the charge of protesting against the United States without any authority.

He was first arraigned before Magistrate Mbakeh on the 6th March 2009 for displaying a protest banner in front of the American Embassy along Kairaba Avenue.

In his judgment, Magistrate Mbakeh told the court that the convict deserved some punishment to serve as a deterrent. He stated that the constitution provides for freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of movement, but that people should not encroach on the freedom of others. He noted that the convict has the right to express his opinions and feelings but he should have sought clearance from the police before staging a public demonstration.

"Maybe the convict planned to demonstrate alone peacefully but there was a possibility of other people joining him and this could have turned violent," Magistrate Mbakeh told the court, noting that the convict had no approval from the IGP to stage the protest.

"Since the convict was detained for 49 days and coupled with his plea of guilty, the court would be lenient with him," he said.

He finally passed sentence accordingly after the convict begged the court to temper justice with mercy.