By Amadou Jadama
Magistrate SB Joof of the Brikama court yesterday convicted and sentenced two Brikama imams Karamo Camara, a Gambian and Yusupha Camara, a Bissau national resident in Brikama, to a fine of two thousand dalasi each, in default to serve one month in prison.
The two imams were found guilty of a one-count charge bordering on closures and restrictions on non-essential public places contrary to the emergency powers regulation 2020.
The imams were not represented by a lawyer and were charged separately with the same offence. When the charge was read to them, they all pleaded guilty.
According to police prosecutor Sub-Inspector Bobo Jarju, the first convict Karamo Camara, on 17 April 2020, at Brikama Darsilameh, willfully and unlawfully led congregational Friday prayers in a mosque, disobeying social distancing guidelines and committing an offence.
As for Imam Yusupha Camara, a Bissau national, he was found leading congregational Friday prayers at Brikama Gidda.
In their plea of mitigation, the two imams begged the court to temper justice with mercy saying this is the first time they have a problem with the law and vowing never to do it again.
In passing his judgement, the trial Magistrate Joof said: “I have listened to the plea of mitigations of the convicts and I will also put the consideration that this is their first time and they did not waste the court’s time. I will also consider the essential services they are rendering to the public. But not withstanding these facts, the convicts violated the statutory laws which are to protect the people and save their lives from Covid-19 pandemic. We should all endeavour to abide by the rules and regulations of not just The Gambia but the international community which is the WHO.”
He said the violation of this law could prove fatal, before passing the sentences.