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Prisons commissioner admits unlawful actions at Mile 2

Jun 11, 2020, 11:35 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Commissioner of Operations at The Gambia Prisons Service, Lamin Sowe on Tuesday told the Truth Reconciliations and Reparations Commission how the former regime used to detain opponents or suspects unlawfully at the State Central Prisons.

This directive, he told commissioners, was filtered down from the Office of the president to the ex-Prisons director, David Colley.

Sowe said he never resisted to admit detainees at the State Central Prisons, because if he did, his live would have been in danger.

He recalled that Jammeh’s former hit-squad, junglers used to bring detainees without any accompanying documents, adding that these junglers used to be heavily armed.

"Normally when these detainees are to be brought by either NIA or junglers, ex-prisons boss, David Colley would consult me to prepare and take them to the security wing."

He admitted that these actions were unlawful but that was the only thing he could do because it was an order from the former prisons DG.

Confirming whether it was true that the prisoners referred Ebrima Jammeh as the chief torturer, Sowe explained that it was right, because he (Ebrima) was the one giving orders for the prisoners to be tortured.

"As a result of one of the tortures, I heard that a prisoner died."

The witness also told the commission that he is someone who didn’t like to visit the remand wing because the conditions there were too horrible.

"The remand wing is just near the highway and a truck can just run in and kill all. The place is not good to keep someone."

On his demotion and apparent transfer to Jeshwang Prisons, Sowe recalled that he was called to a meeting at Mile 2 and upon arrival, he was taken to NIA where he was asked whether he visited a marabou but he replied in the negative.

"I was detained at the NIA headquarters and was later bailed. I was later dismissed and it was in 2012 when I was reinstated and dismissed again in 2015."

He further told the commission during his dismissal that he was being closely monitored and that he was later reinstated again in 2016.

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