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Trial of Dr Amadou Janneh to commence

Oct 13, 2011, 1:09 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The trial of former information minister Dr Amadou Scatred Janneh, and three others on charges of treason, is expected to resume today at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

The other three persons charged were Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh, former president of the Gambia Press Union, one Mathew K. Jallow and one Famara Demba.

However, Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow and Famara Demba were all reported to be out of the jurisdiction, when the charges were first made and the case was mentioned in court.

When the trial resumes today, the prosecution is expected to call witnesses to testify against the accused persons.

Janneh, Sosseh, Jallow and Demba were accused, among others, of conspiring among themselves on 26th May 2011 at diverse places in The Gambia, to print and distribute 100 T-shirts which carried a seditious statement, “Coalition for Change The Gambia: End Dictatorship Now.”

Dr. Janneh also faces a two-count charge of seditious acts alongside Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow, all of whom were previously arraigned at the high court in Banjul, and have denied the charges.

State prosecutors accuse Dr. Janneh on count one of treason, stating that he conspired with Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, Famara Demba, and others at large, on 26th May 2011 in diverse places in The Gambia to overthrow the Gambia government.

Dr Janneh, Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, and Famara Demba were also accused of preparing to overthrow the government by unlawful means, and on count three, prosecutors further charged Dr. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow, and Micheal C. Ucheh Thomas with seditious acts.

Prosecutors said the four accused persons and others at large conspired to print and distribute 100 T-shirts which carried seditious statements, “Coalition for Change the Gambia: End Dictatorship Now.”

Dr. Janneh and his co-accused were also charged with intent to cause or bring into hatred, contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the President or the Government of The Gambia, by printing and distributing the 100 T-shirts.

It would be recalled that shortly after plea taking at the high court in Banjul, state prosecutors applied for an adjournment.

Defence counsel Lamin S Camara did not raise any objection, and the trial judge, Justice Joseph Ikpala, subsequently adjourned the case until 13th October 2011.

Dr. Janneh and his co-accused were first arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition, but the matter was later transferred to the high court, which has jurisdiction to hear the case.

Following their appearance at the high court, the prosecution, on two occasions, did not file substantial charges against the accused persons, until recently when they presented the charges.

Janneh, a former political science lecturer in the US and at one time the political and economic affairs officer at the US Embassy in Banjul, was arrested since June 2011 and subsequently remanded in custody at the State Central Prisons Mile 2.