Jan 17, 2014, 11:01 AM
Lang Tombong Tamba the imprisoned former chief of defence staff of the Gambia Armed Forces and six others sentenced to death for treason, would today make their second appearance at the Supreme Court of The Gambia in Banjul.
Former CDS Lang Tombong Tamba, Omar Bun Mbye, former armed forces director of operations and training, Lamin Bo Badjie, former chief of the NIA, Modou Gaye, former deputy Inspector General of Police, Gibril Ngorr Secka, former Gambian deputy ambassador to Guinea Bissau, Kawsu Camara (alias Bombardier) former commander of Kanilai Camp and Abdoulie Joof, a local business tycoon, are seeking to overturn their conviction.
They will appear before a seven-member panel of judges to hear an appeal they filed against their conviction last Monday.
Counsel for the appellants Sherriff Marie Tambadou at the last adjournment date notified the court that he had filed briefs on behalf of the appellants on 20 March 2012.
The Director of Special Litigations, Daniel Ofri Kulo, acknowledged receiving counsel’s briefs, paving the way for the Chief Justice, as head of the seven-member panel of judges, to adjourn the matter to today for continuation of hearing.
It would be recalled that the appellants were sentenced to death by the High Court in Banjul for treason on 15 July 2010.
They then appealed against the high court’s verdict before the three-member Gambia Court of Appeal, which dismissed the appeal on April 2011.
Readers would recall that the convicts were arraigned at the High Court in Banjul on 19th March 2010, and that the trial commenced on 22nd March 2010, and lasted for nearly five months.
The indictment stated that the accused persons between January and December 2009 procured arms, ammunition, equipment and mercenaries from Guinea Conakry and other places to stage a coup and overthrow the democratically-elected government of The Gambia.
During the proceedings at the High Court, the prosecution called 15 witnesses and, following the closure of the prosecution case, counsel representing the accused persons opted to file a no-case-to-answer submission, which was overruled by Justice Amadi, who called on the accused persons to open their defence.
The accused opened their defence and, following completion of the defence testimonies, both the defence counsel and state prosecutor addressed the court.
About death penalty
According to records, since independence the death penalty was only carried out once in The Gambia. This was in 1981, after the abortive coup attempt led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang.
The person executed was Mustapha Danso, a convicted paramilitary officer, for his part in the killings which occurred during the 1981 coup attempt.
However, a few years later, the death penalty was abolished, during the First Republic.
The death penalty was re-introduced early in the Second Republic, in August 1995, but has never been carried out to date.