Sunday, February 5

Lawyer Martin urges Gambians to stand in solidarity with Sabally over ‘unlawful detention’

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Momodou Sabally, the campaign manager of the United Democratic Party (UDP), was arrested last week after being invited for questioning by the Police.

Mr Sabally’s arrest has been greeted with state of outpouring condemnation within and outside the country with many accusing the Barrow administration for attacking freedom of expression.

Lawyer Martin said in a statement: “Remember power resides with the people as enshrined in our constitution. From our experiences of two decades ago, Gambians can no longer afford political persecutions to be an agenda of this present and any future government.

“Unfortunately, it is almost two weeks, we are still waiting for our authorities to tell us something over a viral TikTok audio of a social meeting. Thus, we expect no fabrication or imaginary story will suffice to detain anyone beyond the 72 hours as stipulated by the constitution.”

He called on the authorities not to suffer amnesia over the slogan “never again”.

He noted that the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise should always be the guiding principle. “Bearing in mind no intimidation is required during interrogations”.

“Gambians are no longer gullible and few paranoid individuals should not think that they can stifle dissenting views,” he stated.

According to him, the daily press releases are not the way to address sensitive law and order issues relating to evidence and truth in alleged treasonous crime, such are issues for the courts.

He said they have heard some confused and incompetent aides crying out “set example on alleged suspects” who are never tried or convicted.

He stated that examples are not set on innocent accused/suspects.

He highlighted that Gambians can no longer afford dictatorial regime that abuse its authority and violated their rights.

“Therefore, Mr Sabally’s unlawful detention must come to a stop; either he should be arraigned before a court or be granted bail pending any investigation,” he said, adding that Sabally’s immediate release will be the best option.

“We do not expect a court to derogate on its duty in exercising maximum caution when dealing with rights and liberty, equally any prosecution case cannot be built on a case on fabrication or manufactured evidence,” said Martin.

“The public is watching and will continue to speak truth to power without doubt. The current situation is not about Mr Sabally but a concern to every Gambian and should not be associated with politics/a UDP thing,” he said, adding: “Consequently, we continue to denounce any form of arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions.”

He reminded concerned authorities that parading innocent people in court for humiliation does not demean them, instead it elevates their status.

He also reminded the current Government that it was the social media that helped bring the change, saying President Barrow is a beneficiary of that change.

He also reminded leaders that “power resides with the people, that presidency is about stewardship and not ownership”.

“Posterity will judge the actions of leaders and lesson will be learnt,” he concluded.

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