By Mafugi Ceesay
Attorney General Abubacarr Tambadou yesterday told journalists at a presser that it was not his intention for the apprehended members of former president Jammeh’s hit squad, the Junglers, to be kept in detention without being arraigned.
He said: “These are people who have admitted to their crimes and the situation wouldn’t allow them released on bail. My office is negotiating with the TRRC to see how these people would be allowed to make their testimonies in between.
“For the Junglers, it is also a concern to the government and particularly for the Ministry of Justice, it is a very big case simply because there are many complications regarding the case of the Junglers.”
He said the Junglers are members of the armed forces who admitted committing the most heinous crimes in the country and have been held in detention and that The Gambia Armed Forces has given the Justice ministry the responsibility to take the lead in handling their case.
“The Ministry has to look at different options. The case of the Junglers is an extraordinary case involving an extraordinary people who committed an extraordinary crime in The Gambia, and due to the crimes they committed, they cannot release them back to the society or give them bail…
“The fact is they are the only group in this country to my knowledge who have been held for this long and have not been brought before any court. That is because of the extraordinary circumstances in which the Justice Ministry finds itself. Bringing them before a court means there is prosecution while we are struggling with the NIA 9. It’s two years since the NIA case took off and yet the defence are yet to open their defence, but then the prosecution are at the tail end of their case and will be closing their case.”
He said considering the nature of crimes the Junglers have admitted, the government did not have the financial muscles to reach international standards given the gravity of the crime committed.
“We are voluntarily facilitating their appearance before the TRRC, I only had preliminary discussions with the TRRC to see how they can accommodate the Junglers in between the thematic areas because they are approaching the things sequentially so they can share with the public the nature of their crimes.”
In another development, the trial judge of the NIA 9 case, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara yesterday granted a two-week adjournment in the trial to allow Sheikh Omar Jeng’s lawyer withdraw from the case and for the defendant to acquire the services of another lawyer.