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Three Jailed For Spreading False News Against President Jammeh

Oct 27, 2008, 5:21 AM

Three Gambians namely Lamin Nyass, Momodou Kujabi and Ebrima Kujabi from the Western Region have been sentenced to a mandatory three-month jail term. The trio, were found guilty of spreading false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the general public.

It could be recalled that some few weeks ago, rumours were spread across the country that President Jammeh had a dream of a dark vision and has given directives that on Thursday no one should cook dinner, light candles and sweep their compounds.

In delivering his judgement on the landmark case last Friday, before a crowded courtroom in Brikama, the presiding Magistrate Pa Harry Jammeh sentenced the accused persons to a mandatory three months in jail, but noted that the maximum penalty for such offences is two years. As first offenders, Magistrate Jammeh said he was going to convict the accused persons to teach them lesson so that it will not to go anywhere else again. Magistrate Jammeh used the opportunity to discourage people from spreading false news with intent to cause fear and alarm.

Jammeh said the accused persons have no authority whatsoever to pass such information to the general public, knowing fully well, that it can cause fear and pandemonium in town.

"Do you know how many people were greatly disturbed by this information," said Magistrate Jammeh, adding that, "if the President have any information for the general public he will do so on Gambian TV". The presiding Magistrate however warned those who are engaged in such activities to desist from it before it is too late.

Before delivering judgement, the three accused persons pleaded guilty to the said offence.

Lamin Nyassi for his part said he traveled to SuwonVillage and upon his return, he told the Alkalo of Penyam village that he heard that the President had a dream of a dark vision.

Ebrima Kujabi and Momodou Kujabi said they heard the information from the women who went to work at one of President Jammeh's farms. They told the court that they disclosed the information at the mosque so that the people could pray for President Jammeh and the nation at large.

In another development, 54 men most of whom Guineans were last Friday sentenced to a mandatory three month jail term. The accused persons were charged with six counts of offences ranging from unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct among others. It would be recalled that on Friday around 1:00p.m 17thOctober 2008, activities in Brikama were brought to a standstill when a group of rioters stormed the police station in Brikama throwing stones. The incident happened few hours after a rough confrontation involving a Guinean immigrant and personnel of the Police Intervention Unit. Word had gone around in town that the immigrant was seriously beaten and he was in a critical condition at the town's clinic. The rioters threw missiles at the police station and the clinic demanding justice to be done in this case. In passing judgement, the presiding Magistrate said the rioters have no right whatsoever to take the law in their own hands. He therefore sentenced them to a mandatory jail term of three months with no option of fine. The convicts are supposed to be deported to Guinea Conakry at the end of their prison term. Meanwhile the two women who were also connected to the riot were acquitted and discharged of the offence.