May 16, 2011, 2:48 PM
Dr. Amadou Scattered Janneh, former Gambian minister of Information and Communication, yesterday at the high court in
The issue of poor conditions in Dr. Janneh’s prison cell came to light yesterday in the case, hearing of which was expected to commence, but the case could not proceed as his defence lawyer, L.S. Camara, was not in court.
Janneh’s complaint was made known to the court by lawyer Borry S. Touray who held brief for L.S Camara.
Counsel told the Special Criminal Court that, “My lord, the defence counsel in this case is absent and, on this grounds, the case could not proceed without the accused person’s counsel.”
B.S. Touray further submitted that he could not proceed with the hearing because the case file was not with him, adding that the case is about treason which is serious offence, and he has no idea about the case.
He added that he received information from Dr Janneh that his prison cell was not in a good condition, and that the roof has leaked water, since the start of the rainy session.
Counsel said his client had told the prison authorities at Jeshwang Prison, but nothing was done about it.
The Director of Public Prosecution, M. Abdullahi, insisted that the prosecution would proceed with the hearing, as they had witnesses in court to testify against the accused persons.
“My witnesses have come all the way to the court to testify leaving behind their work, so it will not be fair on their side when the case is adjourned,” DPP said.
However, the judge ruled that for a fair hearing and justice, he would adjourn the matter, but warned that the case must proceed on the next adjournment date, with or without the counsel.
He also made a court order for the prison authorities at Jeshwang Prison to improve the prison cell conditions of Dr Janneh, for the inmate’s health and well-being.
“Prisons authorities are hereby directed to take steps to ensure that the cell in which the accused is detained is clean and clear,” Justice Nkea ruled.
He subsequently adjourned the hearing of the matter till 19th and 20th of October 2011 at 11 am each day.
Readers would recall that Dr Amadou Scatred Janneh and three others, namely Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh, former president of the Gambia Press Union, Mathew K. Jallow and one Famara Demba, were in June this year charged with treason.
However, Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow and Famara Demba were all said to be out of the jurisdiction, at the initial mention of the case.
Janneh, Sosseh, Jallow and Demba are, among others, accused of conspiring amongst themselves on 26th May 2011 at diverse places in The Gambia to print and distribute 100 T-shirts which carried a seditious statement, “Coalition for Change the Gambia: End Dictatorship Now.”
Dr. Janneh also faces a two-count charge of seditious acts alongside Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow, all of whom were previously arraigned at the high court in
State prosecutors accuse Dr. Janneh on count one of treason, stating that he conspired with Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, Famara Demba, and others at large on 26th May 2011 in diverse places in The Gambia to overthrow the
Dr Janneh, Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, and Famara Demba were also accused of preparing to overthrow the Government of The Gambia by unlawful means on 26th May 2011 in diverse places in The Gambia and elsewhere.
On count three, prosecutors further charged Dr. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow, and Micheal C. Ucheh Thomas with seditious acts.
Prosecutors said the four accused persons and others at large conspired amongst themselves on 26th May 2011 at diverse places in The Gambia to print and distribute 100 T-shirts which carried seditious statements: “Coalition for Change The Gambia: End Dictatorship Now.”
Dr. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow, Micheal C.Ucheh, and others at large were also accused to have on or about the 26th May 2011 at diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia with intent to cause or bring into hatred, contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the President or the Government of The Gambia, printed and distributed 100 T-shirts carrying seditious statements: “Coalition for Change the Gambia: End Dictatorship Now.”
Dr. Janneh and his co-accused were previously arraigned at the
Banjul Magistrates’ Court charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition, but the matter was later transferred to the high court, which has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Following their appearance at the high court, the prosecution, on two occasions, did not file substantial charges against the accused persons, until yesterday when they presented the charges.
Janneh, a former political science lecturer in the