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Head of Green Youths testifies in journalists’ trial

Apr 11, 2014, 9:04 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Lamin Sonko, head of the Green Youths in Tanji village, yesterday testified in the trial involving two journalists, Sainey MK Marenah and Musa Sheriff, at the Banjul magistrates’ court, before magistrate Lamin Mbye.

Musa Sheriff, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Voice newspaper, and Sainey M.K. Marena, a freelance journalist, were charged with conspiracy to cause misdemeanour and publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public, which both denied.

Lamin Sonko testified as the second prosecution witness, and told the court that he is resides in Tanji an is a driver by profession.

He told the court that he did not recognize the accused persons, adding that he was called to explain in connection with a story published in the newspaper about “19 Green Youths defecting to opposition UDP', which was not true.

“I am the head of the Green Youths in Tanji village. How can 19 Green Youths defect to the opposition UDP without my consent,” he said.

“I was informed by the Alkalo of Tanji that the journalists wrote that some of our Green Youths had defected to the opposition UDP. I then told him that I am not even aware of any defection of Green Youths to the opposition UDP."

He said there are 55 Green Youths in Tanji village, which he heads and was not aware of anybody defecting to the opposition UDP.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel LS Camara, the witness told the court that he was not aware when the rally was held at Tanji village, because he was at the President’s farm in Batokunku village.

He said he could not tell who and who were present at the rally, because he was not present.

“I may not know what has transpired at the rally since I was not there,” he told the court.

The case was then adjourned to 15 April 2014, for further hearing.

Musa Sheriff and Sainey M.K. Marenah were accused in count one, that on 6 December 2013 in Banjul and diverse places, they conspired to cause a misdemeanor by publishing in The Voice newspaper medium a story headlined: “19 Green Youths join the opposition UDP” dated 6 December 2013, and thereby committed an offence.

In count two, the two journalists employed as editor-in-chief and reporter respectively at The Voice newspaper medium, made the publication, knowing or having reason to believe that the said publication was likely to cause fear to the public or disturb the public peace, and thereby committed an offence.