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Terrorism suspect claims serious torture at NIA

Feb 10, 2011, 12:35 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Kemo Conteh, one of 16 accused persons facing terrorism-related offences at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, yesterday told the court that he was seriously beaten up at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Conteh said this while cross-examining the prosecution’s fourth witness, Salifu M. Nyang, the station officer, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Bakoteh Police Station.

The accused persons who all denied the charges are Alasana Thomas Jarju, Maulud Badjie, Lasana (Prosper) Sambou, Ousman Jarju, Mansour Jatta, Sedat Jatta, Sedat Jarju, Fabia Nyafuneh, Pa Ousman Badjie, Abdoulie Jatta, Mumin Bah and Abdoulie Jarju, all Senegalese, and Samsideem Jammeh, Kebba Seckan, Kemo Conteh and Sam Kambai, all Gambians.

They were alleged to have, on 8 August 2006 at Darsilameh and diverse places in the West Coast Region, “jointly conducted and engaged themselves in an unlawful act which may seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental, political, constitutional, economic and social structure of The Gambia.”

The witness denied arresting the accused persons, adding that they were brought to the NIA for investigations into the alleged offence.

The CID officer refuted the torture allegations, and said all what he said in court was the truth.

“I have never arrested you,” Nyang responded in answering to another question put to him by the witness, who represented himself at the trial.

After few questions, the accused said he had no further questions for the witness.

Lamin S.Camara, counsel for the 15th accused person, Kebba Secka, former NIA operative, also informed the court that he had no questions to ask the witness.

The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, S.H Barkun, craved the court’s indulgence to grant him an adjournment in order to call the prosecution’s next witness.

The case was adjourned till 16th and 17th February 2011.

The accused persons were first arraigned at the Brikama Magistrates’ Court in 2009, charged with “Prohibition of Act of Terrorism,” contrary to Section 3 (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002. The case was later transferred to the Special Criminal Court of the High Court in Banjul.

The case had suffered numerous setbacks since 2009 and former high court judge Moses Richards was the first Judge to preside over the trial and now Justice Ikpala.