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Trial begins in attempted prison break case

Nov 30, 2012, 9:34 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The trial commenced yesterday in the case involving 19 inmates at Mile 2 State Central Prisons, who were accused of an attempt to break out of the prison, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe.

 The accused persons are Sulayman Jammeh, Lamin Saidykhan, Gibbi Sey, Mustapha Camara, Echen Mendy, Lamin Danso, Muhammed Singhateh, Lamin Njie, Ousman Sonko, Ousman B. Njie, Abdou Saidy, Muhammed Dicko, Abdou Sanno, Moses Mbajo, Musa Jallow, Fafa Fatty, Modou Mbenga, Basirou Bah and Modou Musa Jallow.

The charges included conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, willful damage to property, attempted to commit a misdemeanor and assault.

Testifying as the first prosecution witness (PW1), Amadou Tamba told the court that he is prison officer attached to Mile 2 prison.

He said on 27 October 2012, he was on duty at the remand wing of the prison. He told the court that they normally fetch water for the daily use of the inmates.

On that faithful day, they fetched the water, and when they reached prison cell No. 11, he asked one of his colleagues, Borry, to open the cell.

After opening the said cell, the 1st accused person, Sulayman Jammeh, said he wanted to go to the toilet, but he told him to go back to his cell. However, the accused insisted that he must go to the toilet, and he later decided to leave him alone.

Officer Tamba said his colleague, Borry, then came round to hold the hand of Sulayman Jammeh alias Dad, and took him back into the cell. At the time, the accused person had a lighted cigarette, which he put out on the hand of Borry.

After other inmates advised him, Jammeh pretended to have fainted, and water was poured on him, but he failed to get up.

The 1st accused later woke up, and brought a bench and started destroying the cell padlocks with the bench, the witness further told the court.

During the process, Gibbi Sey, one of the accused persons held the hand of the witness, Tamba went on, and then took his beret from his head in the presence of Moses Mbye, H.L. Mendy and Ousman Sonko.

“I climbed up the tower, but they were still stoning. I did not know who were the actual people doing that,” officer Tamba told the court.

 Under cross-examination, PW1 told the court that he was scared when the first accused person was unconscious, because the accused person pretended  he was dead.

When asked why the accused persons were rioting without any provocation, the witness said he did not provoke any inmate.

He admitted that he was a corporal prior to this incident at the prison, and was later demoted from corporal to first class

The case was adjourned till 4 December 2012, for hearing.