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Monday, August 8, 2022

3 ACQUITTED ‘WHATSAPP’ SOLDIERS CLAIM D15M DAMAGES

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By Binta A Bah

Three former Gambian soldiers, who were acquitted and discharged by the Gambia Court of Appeal on treason charges, have filed a summon at the high court to order the Gambia Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defense and the Attorney General, to jointly pay them 15-million-dalasi compensation for rights violations.

Captain Yaya Beray Jammeh, Lieutenant Abdoulie Jarju and Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh were found guilty, by a military court of treason and related offences. They were sentenced accordingly to a maximum jail term of 9 years for planning to overthrow the Government of President Adama Barrow. They were also dismissed from the army by the court-martial with disgrace.

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The ex-soldiers through their lawyer, Sheriff Kumba Jobe, want the court to declare their arrest, detention and subsequent prosecution by state without sufficient evidence against them as unlawful and unjustifiable.

The men also want the court to make a declaration that the decision to retire them from the service constitutes discrimination and violation of their rights, seeking for additional D200,000 as legal costs incurred in the prosecution of this matter.

“We have been wronged by the respondent and they have not only violated our fundamental rights and freedoms, but caused us physical, psychological and economic suffering for subjecting us to more than three years in custody for offences which we never committed. Our arrest, detention, and prosecution affected our families who were devastated and socially systematized,” Yaya Beray Jammeh stated in his summons.

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However, the state in their affidavit of reply, said the ex-soldiers were arrested and detained in accordance with the law.

It states that they were paid their salaries up to May 2019 when the court martial ordered for their termination from the armed forces and have not disclosed any fact that could entitle them to any form of compensation.

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