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In Cocaine 9 voire dire trial, 1st accused testifies

Nov 1, 2010, 1:16 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi has opened his defence in the voire dire trial regarding his cautionary statement at the special narcotics court of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi is the first accused person in the trial involving nine foreign nationals arrested in the Gambia with cocaine reportedly worth over one billion United States dollars on 28th October 2010.

Testifying before Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea, the first accused told the court that he would attain 67 years in November 2010.

He adduced that he is presently at Mile 2 central prison, stating that he could not recall the day exactly when he was arrested. He further told the court that, from 13th May 2010, he was taken to three different places.

"I was first taken to the Drug Enforcement Agency, CTI and then to the NIA. On 20th May 2010, I found myself in a different situation. I wrote a statement at the NIA conference hall, but not in my own handwriting, and the statement bears my signature," Gazi told the court.

He alleged that from the drug squad, they were taken to CTI where they found some men standing with plastic bags. He added that one of them put a plastic bag on his head, and tied it round his neck and that, as a result, he could not  get enough air to breathe.

"On the same day, they removed the plastic bag and took us to the tap in handcuffs, and they started beating us," Mr Gazi further told the court.

He added that the men were shouting at them, asking them, "where do you hide your cocaine", adding that they were beaten all over their bodies.

"After five days, we were taken to the NIA, but I could not remember the day I made a statement. At the NIA, I was treated like a gentleman, because I was never tortured. I gave my statement voluntarily, but it was with fear because we were told that we will be executed and buried all," he added.

"We signed the statements because we were also told that, after giving the statements, we would be safe," he further narrated.

Gazi added that, at the time of signing the statement, Saidykhan was the only person present, and not the independent witness, Babucarr Khan.

"I cannot read the statement as a result of my eye," he told the court. However, he admitted that exhibit P1 was made voluntarily.

The case was at that juncture adjourned till 1st November 2010 for the state to file their written address, and on 4th November 2010 for the defence to file their written address.

It was further adjourned till 5th November 2010 for adoption of written briefs, and ruling.