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Detained Journalists Granted Bail

Jun 23, 2009, 6:39 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

The acting Principal Magistrate, Sainabou Wadda-Ceesay of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court, yesterday granted court bail to the six Gambian journalists who were remanded in custody, charged with three counts of seditious publication. They were granted bail in the sum of D200, 000 with two Gambian sureties each, all of whom must deposit their title deeds at the Assistant Registrar's Office.

They are: Ebrima Sawaneh, the News Editor of The Point Newspaper, Pap Saine Co-publisher and Managing Editor of The Point Newspaper, Sam Sarr Editor of Foroyaa News paper, Pa Modou Faal, Treasurer of the Gambia Press Union, Emil Touray, Secretary-General of the Gambia Press Union, and Abubacarr Saidy-khan, a reporter with the Foroyaa News paper. Sarata Jabbi-Dibba, the Vice- President of the Gambia Press Union was granted bail on 18 June 2009.

In her ruling on the bail, the Magistrate told the court that all the accused persons had applied to be granted bail. She stated that the accused persons are all responsible persons, and that they are also Gambians resident in the country. She went on to say that, "the offences with which they are charged are bailable and they are not capital offences". She added that there is no evidence that the accused persons had had any criminal record before.

She further noted that the Prosecutor did not advance any reason that the accused persons would commit another offence when granted bail. She added that denying the accused persons bail, would be tantamount to a denial of their constitutional rights. She stated that an accused person is presumed innocent until he/she is proven guilty.

Lawyer Lamin Camara represented the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th accused persons, while Lawyer Idrissa Sissoho and Lawyer Assan Martin represented the 2nd Accused.

Meanwhile, all the accused persons would enter into their plea at the next sitting.

Yesterday's court session was attended by the United States Ambassador to the Gambia and his British counterpart.

The case was adjourned to 7th July 2009.