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Judgment For Six Gambian Journalists Deferred

Aug 6, 2009, 10:44 AM | Article By: Soury Camara

The judgment in the case of the six Gambian journalists: Pap Saine, Bai Emil Touray, Sarata-Jabi-Dibba, Pa Madou Faal, Ebrima Sawaneh and Sam Sarr, could not proceed yesterday as scheduled but it's again re-scheduled for today 6th August 2009.

Hundreds of colleagues, family members and sympathisers were in court to witness the verdict, but were later informed that the judgement had been deferred for today. No reasons have been advanced for this postponement.

However, the Presiding Judge, Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle was not in court.

All the accused persons are charged with six counts of conspiracy to commit seditious publication, publishing seditious publication, conspiracy to commit criminal defamation and criminal defamation.

They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Seven of them were standing trial, but the 5th accused, Abubacarr Saidy Khan, who was arrested for attempting to snap a photograph of the scene of the arrest, was acquitted and discharged by Justice Fagbenle in a 'no case submission' by the Defence Counsel.

The defendants were arrested on 15th June 2009, by the NIA and were detained for three days, following the publication of a press release issued by the Gambia Press Union, reacting to an interview made by President Jammeh on GRTS.

They were first arraigned at the Kanifing Magistrates' Court on 18th June 2009, charged with five counts only to be remanded in custody by the court until 22nd June 2009, when they were granted bail.

They were catalogued to appear 7th July 2009 for them to take their plea at the Magistrates' Court, but to the surprise of many, they were served to appear at the High Court on 26th June 2009 before Justice Joseph Wowo, who sent them to remand until 29th June 2009, when they were remanded on bail.

The case which was handled by Justice Wowo was subsequently withdrawn and transferred to Justice Fagbenle of the Banjul High Court.