#Article (Archive)

Defence files motion for release of 41 UDP supporters

Jun 9, 2016, 11:03 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

suLawyer Borry Touray on 8 June 2016 told the High Court at Kanifing that the defence team had filed a motion for the release of forty-one applicants, who are supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP), from custody.

He made this statement before Justice B.A. Suleiman Awoniran.

When the case was called, counsel Touray told the court he was appearing for the applicants along with Yasin Senghore and Combeh Gaye-Coker.

The state counsel, Lamin Jarju, rose and said he was representing the IGP, the NIA, Commissioner of Prisons and the Attorney General, who are the respondents.

Lawyer Borry Touray then said the state had been served with their motion, which was filed on 30 May 2016.

State counsel Jarju told the court they were served on 7 June 2016, adding that they were applying for an adjournment to respond to the summon.

He said they wanted to hear from the respondents.

Borry Touray argued that the applicants were arrested on 9 May 2016, and on 9 June 2016 will be a month since their arrest.

He said this was a violation of the constitution, adding that it was apparently clear that the application for adjournment was not reasonable.

He argued further that service was effected on the Attorney General on 1 June 2016, adding that the application was a violation of section 19 (3) of the constitution.

Counsel Touray said the state has the duty to arraigned the applicants before a court of competent jurisdiction within a period of 72 hours, adding that the applicants had been detained without charge for 29 days.

He said it would be unfair to grant the application because the state had been served with the process on 1 June 2016.

He further argued that the state had been given the opportunity to react, adding that they were only entitled to 48 hours.

Counsel Touray added that the process before the court is a civil matter.

He said the court must not exercise its discretion to grant the respondents the application, adding that this would be tantamount to “punishing” the applicants.

In reply, state counsel Jarju stated that they maintained their position for the matter to be adjourned.

The judge then said, in the interest of justice, he would adjourn the case until 16 June 2016, for both parties to file their briefs.

According to the defence, they filed a motion for the declaration that the arrest of the applicants by the IGP, the NIA and the Commissioner of Police or by their subordinates and/or agents on Monday 9 May 2016, in the Kanifing Municipality of The Gambia “is unlawful” in that “it is inconsistent and or in contravention of section 19 and 25 of the constitution”.

The motion further indicated that “the detention of the applicants by the respondents since 9 May 2016 is unlawful and unconstitutional in that the said detention is inconsistent with and/or in contravention of sections 19 and 24 of the constitution, as well as article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights”.

There was a declaration by the motion for an order directing the unconstitutional release from detention and custody of the applicants.