Baba Hydara continues testimony in Germany

Jun 24, 2022, 2:08 PM | Article By: Alagie Mbaye GRTS in Germany

One of the plaintiffs in the trial of a former member of Ex-President Jammeh’s hit squad testifies in Court. Baba Hydara, a son of the late Deyda who was allegedly murdered by the Junglers testified on Tuesday at the trial involving the accused, Bai Lowe at the Celle Regional Supreme Court in Germany.

The trial of a former member of the Junglers continues in Celle, Germany as more witnesses testify. Bai Lowe is accused of being a member of the hit squad, known as the Junglers, between 2003 and 2006 and allegedly participated in the assassination of opponents of former President Yahya Jammeh, including the murder of Deyda Hydara, a journalist of the AFP News Agency and Co-founder of Gambia independent daily, The Point newspaper . The latest witnesses to appear in court  was Baba Hydara.

In a lengthy and cross-cutting testimony Baba discussed the history and content of The Point newspaper where his father worked as well as his dedication to press Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance. Baba explained that his late father had two columns in the newspaper called "Good Morning Mr. President and the Bite "where he wrote on issues of national concern and socioeconomic development. This according to Baba, never went down well with the former president and he received several threats from the corridors of power. The witness also discussed the killing of his father, his family's reaction to the news of the murder and the subsequent difficulties endured by his family including financial and, educational challenges. He also detailed the psychological trauma as well as security threats faced by the family after the killing of his late father, saying the only source of income was RSF and AFP. He disclosed that no formal or impartial investigation was launched on the assassination of his father by government. However, the international journalists network, Reporters Without Borders carried out some investigations and putting pressure on government to investigate the matter. This subsequently led to what he described as a misleading, baseless and partial report released by government bent on tarnishing Deyda's reputation. The witness also discussed his understanding of the patrol team, the assassination of his dad, Dawda Nyassi and the attack on Ousman Sillah. He, however, stressed that he never wanted to discuss the issue with anyone since the murder of his father because it disturbed him and that his knowledge about the work of the Junglers and murder of his dad was during his time with Gambia's victims center.

The presiding judges also asked clarification on whether Ida Jagne and Isatou Jagne refer to the same person who was in the car during Deyda's assassination and the witness said he knows only Ida Jagne and not Isatou. The plaintiff's lawyer Dr. Patrick Kroker asked about the issue of the Junglers who returned from Equatorial Guinea and the witness explain that they were arrested, charged and later discharged.

The witness also explained the threats faced by Pap Saine at the The Point as government wanted to shut down the paper. The witness urged the government of the Gambia to ensure the implementation of the TRRC recommendations, saying accepting them alone is far from enough. He also reiterated his commitment to fight for justice for his late father as well as other victims of ex-president Jammeh and his hit squad. He called for the swift prosecution of perpetrators, saying justice delayed is justice denied.

Lowe is accused of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder including helping to stop Hydara’s car and driving one of the killers in his own vehicle.

The father-of-four, late Deyda Hydara also worked as a Gambia correspondent for Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and was considered a doyen among journalists in the West African state. The court presided over by a panel of five judges adjourned to Thursday 30th June 2022.