Lawyer Assan Martin, a human rights lawyer, and social commentator has urged Gambians to stand in solidarity with Momodou Sabally over his unlawful detention while reminding the citizens to exercise their rights as enshrined in the constitution.
“Remember power resides with the people as enshrined in our constitution and from our experiences of two decades of dictatorship, Gambians can no longer afford political persecution to be an agenda of this present and any future government. “Unfortunately, it is almost two weeks, and we are still waiting for our authorities to tell us something over a viral tik to audio of a social meeting. Thus, we expect no fabrication or imaginary story will suffice to detain anyone beyond the 72 hours stipulated in the constitution.
Speaking to The Voice yesterday Mr. Martin a former Magistrate recalled the criminal case of the former Chief of Defence Staff Lang Tombong Tamba and others who were charged with treason in 2010 whose case was manufactured by the state witness Rui Jabbie, urging the authorities not to suffer amnesia over the “Never Again” Slogan.
“We are also hearing about denying access to detainees by their family members and lawyers, a very troubling issue. The presumption of innocence until proven otherwise should always be the guiding principle. Bearing in mind no intimidation is required during interrogations.” Martin advised.
Mr. Martin further noted that the authorities should be in mind that Gambians are no longer gullible but few paranoid individuals should not think that they can stifle dissenting views.
He continued: “Currently, we have observed that the president has been misled by closed aides, acting on bad advice that can sink the nation into the abyss. The so-called daily press releases are not the way to address sensitive law and order issues relating to evidence and truth in alleged treasonous crimes, such are issues for the courts. Let the president and authorities be advised as we heard some confused and incompetent aides crying out “set example on alleged suspects” that are never tried or convicted. Well, we again advise that” examples are not to be set on innocent accused/suspects. Remember posterity is here to judge.”
Taking stock of the past twenty-two years of dictatorial rule by the exiled former President Yahya Jammeh who sought sanctuary in Equatorial Guinea following his defeat in the 2016 presidential election, the right advocate and former Magistrate Martin stressed that Gambians can no longer afford a dictatorial regime that abuses its authority and violated their rights, adding that 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.
“In the same vein, 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 rely on fabricated or manufactured evidence,” he warned.
The public, he added, is watching and will continue to speak the truth to power without a doubt, noting that the current situation is not about Mr. Sabally but a national concern that should not be related to a party- politics.
He added: “Consequently, we continue to denounce any form of arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions.
We also remind the concerned authorities that the policy of parading innocent people in court for humiliation does not demean them, instead, it elevates their status. Something we expect with Mr. Sabally whose talent on economic and governance issues is well recognized nationwide.”
Lawyer Martin finally reminded the current government that it was social media that helped bring the change and Barrow was elected as the president.
is a beneficiary of that change, and was quicked to ask for an explanation from the state as he put it “how a doctored nineteen seconds audio/ viral video can be a problem for the government or any person.”