#Article (Archive)

The Alleged Police Brutality

Oct 7, 2008, 4:56 AM

Who tortured Mr Abdoulie Faye while in detention? Mr Faye told a stunned Magistrate Pa Harry Jammeh that about seven CID officers beat him up while he was in detention; that he was injured in the eye as a result of the beating; and that a CID officer threatened to shoot him. In addition, he was detained for 18 long days without trial. It is all stranger than fiction.

It is unthinkable that in the contemporary world that is driven by rights-based democratic values, some elements in our police force could be so bestial in dealing with a suspect. Have they forgotten that a suspect is deemed innocent until proven guilty? Have they forgotten due process? How could they have taken the law into their own hands? Why did the Station Officer allow such barbarity to happen in the first place under his watch?

We agree with Magistrate Pa Harry Jammeh (who was appalled by the revelation, just as we are on reading the story in Foroyaa's 3-5 October 2008 edition) that what happened to Mr Faye was a "human rights violation" of alarming proportions. We also agree with him that the Inspector General of Police must be notified about the act of brutality allegedly meted out on Mr Faye. The police are supposed to be protectors of our rights, safety and lives. But when some of them are alleged to threaten a citizen by shooting him, then something has gone awry.

The police high command, together with judiciary, must set up a commission of inquiry to look into the grave and shocking allegations that Mr Faye has made. We suggest that the commission of inquiry conduct its sittings in the open. Importantly, journalists must be allowed to cover the commission's sittings. Over and above that, if the said CID Officers are found guilty, they must be made to face justice: they should be summarily dismissed from the force. This will serve as a deterrent to others who are inclined to brutality; they smear the image of the police force by their needless highhandedness.

We would also like to commend Mr Faye for having the courage to speak out against his tormentors. We call on other citizens who are molested by the police for no just cause to speak out as well. It is high time we did away with the culture of silence: it, in the long run, breeds impunity. We say no to police brutality. We say no to impunity. We believe in the rule of law and due process. The alleged torturers of Mr Faye must be brought to justice!

"Wherever law ends, tyranny begins".

John Locke