By Omar Bah
Citizens’ Alliance party yesterday issued a statement to condemn the rearrest of the Three Years Jotna Group members and warned the government against upholding fresh charges against them.
On Wednesday, the Banjul Magistrates’ Court freed Yankuba Darboe, Abdoulie Njie, Ebrima Kitim Jarju, Sherfiffo Sonko, Hagi Suwareh, Fanta Mballow, Karim Touray and Muctarr Ceesay from charges of unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation, and rioters demolishing structures after the state filed a nolle prosequi.
But immediately after their discharge, they were re-arrested and charged again.
CA said the government’s decision to rearrest and charge the group members is “an affront to the country’s new found democracy”.
“A competent court discharged the accused persons after the state prosecution’s withdrawal of the case. It was shocking to learn that the 3YJ leaders were re-arrested again by the police immediately after leaving the courtroom to be charged afresh. CA strongly condemns this egregious violation of the rights of the 3YJ leaders. At a time when Gambians are struggling to come to terms with a dark past, this single act is a setback for our democracy with the potential to derail the successes registered by the judicial arm of government and a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do as a nation in so far as the promotion of the rule of law and consolidating our democracy is concerned,” the party said.
“This act of injustice against a few Gambians is considered by us as injustice against every Gambian. The country is still grappling to come to terms with its dark past and therefore the rearrest of the group is an affront to the country’s democracy with the potential to derail the success registered by the judicial arm of government,” he said.
The party also expressed disappointment over the state’s handling of the case, especially after a competent court discharged the accused persons, following the state prosecution’s withdrawal of the case.
Case assigned to Ghanaian judge
Meanwhile, this paper can confirm that the criminal case has been assigned to Justice FA Achibonga of the High Court in Banjul and that three fresh charges have been preferred against them.
The charged persons are: Ms Fanta Mballow, Ebrima Kitim Jarjue, Sheriffo Sonko, Hagi Sumareh, Abdou Njie, Katim Touray, Yankuba Darboe, Muctarr Ceesay and Bakary Camara.