Lawyer Taal recollects unpleasant moments under Jammeh

Apr 7, 2021, 12:49 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

SalieuTaal, the president of The Gambia Bar Association and a private law practitioner, yesterday meticulously testified before the TRRC how former President Yahya Jammeh used the justice sector to violate the rights of Gambians and to entrench himself into power.

Taal confirmed that he has been an active member of the Bar from 2002 to date. He explained that upon his return to Gambia from the UK, he realised that the practice of law in the country was very challenging and hard for lawyers to do their job freely and independently. He said he was once shocked when he realised that the court clerk was an NIA agent.

Witness Taal continued that during his practice as a private lawyer, many obstacles occurred and Mariama Jack Denton was once detained at Mile 2 Prison. He said the bar executive discussed legal actions to get her released, but Denton didn’t want them to take legal steps because she believed it may worsen the situation.

“As a young lawyer, I was confused because Denton wasn’t charged with any offence. She ends up being in detention at the Mile 2 Prison for 111 days. It was later when the female lawyers released an order to secure her release unconditionally. I think she was detained due to the manner in which she was perceived as a supporter of the UDP.”

On another occasion, Lawyer Taal explained that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe was also arrested and charged with murder for the killing of one APRC militant who died during a fracas between UDP and APRC militants.

He testified that Mr. Bory Ceesay who gave bail to Lawyer Darboe was dismissed, while adding that Mr. Antuman Gaye was also arrested and remanded at Mile 2 in January 2006.

“The bar filed an application for bail, in which we got his freedom. In 2006 March again, he was picked up by armed men at the court without order. The arrest was on the instruction of ex-president Jammeh. Mr. Gaye was detained for 7 days in connection with Ndure Cham’s abortive coup. Subsequently, we agreed to boycott the court sittings and for Justice Brobbey to leave his position as chief justice. Mr. Gaye was never charged after his arrest and detention.”

Further testifying, he said Justice Paul once made a statement threatening to lock the lawyers. He said that was the time the majority of the lawyers stopped attending his courts.

“We knew that we were on target, they wanted to divide us and we as well knew that the executive would attack us. There were minorities among us who had an interest for the government.”

He told the commission that many iconic African leaders formed a delegation to meet Jammeh but he directed them to the vice president and the attorney general. He added that Jammeh presented himself as Africanist and believed that human rights are for the whites while adding that he (Jammeh) used religion and culture to manipulate, rule and attack Gambians.

Witness Taal stated that the directive of the President is not legally above court orders.Instead, the executive directive of Jammeh used to supersede the court orders and the Constitution was mostly disregarded.

On several illegalities on the manner lawyers were arrested, Witness Taal said the bar also reacted to the illegal arrest of Justice Moses Richard.

Read Other Articles In Headlines
Dr v2. Samateh
Covid-19: Gov’t urged to protect mentally challenged persons
Sep 8, 2021, 1:20 PM

The coronavirus pandemic has seriously impacted the livelihoods of mentally challenged women within both the West Coast Region and Kanifing Municipality due to lack of proper care, especially in the uptight period of the pandemic, 2020.

Kaleng Sainey village
Lack of potable water triggers sorrow in Kaleng Sainey village
Jun 18, 2021, 11:42 AM

The residents of Kaleng Sainey village in the Sami District, Central River Region north (CRR/n) have said the long lack of clean drinking water and fetching water from a 55-metre deep well has triggered misery in the village.

2020 FIU Report: D16M laundered, while fraud rampant in Gambia
Feb 25, 2021, 2:06 PM

The director of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of The Gambia and the GIABA national coordinator, Alagie Dardoe, says D16 million was laundered in year 2014 but the conviction was done in 2020, while fraud emerged as the most reported financial crime. Accordingly, the funds have  been forfeited to the state.
and the funds forfeited to the state

human trafficking
15 cases of human trafficking in courts
Aug 2, 2021, 1:51 PM

The executive director of the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP) on Friday 30th July revealed that her agency is currently pursuing up to 15 cases of trafficking in persons at the courts in The Gambia.