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Supreme Court defers ex-CDS and co appeal

Jun 26, 2012, 12:37 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Supreme Court of The Gambia yesterday deferred the appeal filed by the jailed former armed forces chief Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba and six others until the next session of the court in October.

General Tamba along with six other senior security officers and a local business tycoon, who were condemned to death by the Banjul High Court in July 2010, are now challenging their convictions before a five-member panel of judges of the Supreme Court.

The other appellants are Omar Bun Mbye, former Director of Operations and Training at GAF, Lamin Bo Badjie, former Chief of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Modou Gaye, former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Gibril Ngorr Secka, former Gambia’s Deputy Ambassador to Guinea Bissau, Kawsu Camara (alias Bombardier) former Commander of Kanilai Camp and Abdoulie Joof, a local business tycoon.

At the resumption of the hearing at the Supreme Court, defence counsel S.M. Tambedou told the court that he had served the state respondent with briefs since 18 June 2012.

In response, the Deputy Director of Special Litigations at the Attorney General’s Chambers, S.A. Abi, acknowledged receiving the appellants’ briefs, but was quick to remind the judges that they are still within the time limit and are working on the respondent’s briefs.

After brief arguments, the panel of judges decided that the state respondent had time to reply, after the defence urged the judge to limit the time given to the state respondent.

The lead judge however reminded the parties that their respective addresses should be filed on time, adducing that his co-judges would read the address and form their opinion.

He said some of the judges are sitting judges in other countries, urging the parties to prepare on time.

Chief Justice Agim subsequently adjourned the matter till the next Supreme Court session in October 2012.

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 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 19 March 2010, and that the trial commenced on 22 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 course of 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 the completion of the defence testimony, 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 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.

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