Wednesday, November 29

High Court Sentenced Former NIA Boss, Three Others to Death

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By a staff reporter

After six years of legal battle on charges of conspiracy and murder, the former head of the defunct National Intelligence Agency and three others were sentenced to death by a high court judge in Banjul after finding them guilty on all counts bringing closure to the family.

The convicts are Yankuba Badjie, former NIA boss, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Baboucarr Sallah, Mansireh Tamba, and Lamin Darboe, and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

Yankuba Badjie and eight others initially were charged with the murder of Ebrima Solo Sandeng, an opposition political activist and the leader of the youth wing of the opposition United Democratic Party.

Mr. Sandeng in April 2016 took to the street demanding electoral reform but was arrested and tortured to death by the fearful operatives of the state intelligence agency, NIA.

His arrest led to massive arrest and prosecution of senior executive members of the party including the secretary general and leader of the party, Ousainu Darboe who was also found guilty and sentenced to three years by a high court judge on 14th July 2016.

The trial has attracted both local and international attention with the international community calling on the authorities to unconditionally free Mr. Darboe and other executive members of the party.

During the trial, the state presented a host of witnesses and evidence in a bid to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.

The case has also suffered several setbacks as a result of rambling objections raised by both the prosecution and the defence leading to the referral of the case to The Gambia Court of Appeal for determination.

Delivering her long-awaited verdict in a jam-packed courtroom amid tied security, after going through the history of the case and the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, justice Kumba Sillah-Camara delivered the death verdict on the accused persons which were also accompanied by different sentences carrying several years covering outstanding counts besides murder.

One of the accused persons, Haruna Suso was the only one to breathe the air of freedom after he was discharged and acquitted by the court whilst the other accused person Louise died in remand and the fifth accused Yusupha Jammeh was withdrawn from the case.

Other offenses such as felony and conspiracy attract sentences from ten to five years which are to run concurrently. However, the convicts have the right to appeal against the verdict before the Gambia Court of Appeal if they are dissatisfied with the verdict of the High Court.