By Bruce Asemota
The five alleged coup plotters; Sanna Fadera, Gibril Darboe, Ebrima Sannoh, Omar Njie and Fabakary Jawara yesterday took their plea and denied treason charges preferred against them by the State.
One by one, the court read the charges against them as follows: Sanna Fadera was charged with three counts of treason and inciting to mutiny. He was also alleged to have attempted to incite some military officers against the government of the Gambia in 2022.
The particulars of offence stated that Sanna Fadera, Gibril Darboe, Ebrima Sannoh, Omar Njie, Fabakary Jawara and Lamin Jadama now at large at Kafuta village in the West Coast Region and diverse paces prepared to overthrow the government of the Gambia by unlawful means.
Gibril Darboe, the 2nd accused, is charged with two counts of treason and concealment of treason. The prosecution alleged that Darboe along with Ebrima Sannoh, Omar Njie, Fabakary Jawara and Lamin Jadama prepared to overthrow the government.
He was also alleged that during the year 2022 at Kafuta and in diverse places agreed amongst themselves to commit an offence.
As for Ebrima Sanno, the state claimed knowing that Sanna Fadera, Gilbril Darbo, Lamin Fadera intend to commit treason, he failed to report to report to a police officer, a magistrate or to any government official or to a member of the Armed Forces.
In the case of Omar Njie, the fourth accused, he was charged with two counts of concealment of treason after he failed to report knowing that Sanna Fadera, Gibril Darboe, Ebrima Sannoh, Fabakary Jawara and Lamin Jadama intend to commit treason.
Fabakary Jawara, the fifth accused person is charged with two counts of treason and concealment of treason.
The particulars of offence stated that the accused with Sanna Fadera, Gibril Darboe, Ebrima Sannoh and Lamin Jadama now at large in Kafuta and in diverse places prepared and agreed amongst themselves to overthrow the government of the Gambia by unlawful means.
The prosecution further alleged that the suspect during the year 2022 knowing that Sanna Fadera and the other co-accused persons intend to overthrow the government of the Gambia failed to report to a government official, a magistrate, or to any member of the Armed Forces to prevent the commission of the alleged offence.
After the alleged coup plotters took their plea denying any wrong doing, senior defense lawyer Lamin S.Camara informed the court that the bill of indictment served on them by the prosecution did not contain any witness statements or the accused persons’ statements or exhibits.
Lawyer Camara cited section 175 of the criminal procedure code and insisted that the prosecution served them with the relevant materials to enable them prepare for their defence.
The Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, A.M.Yusuf responded that the state is aware of the constitutional provision that allows the prosecution to furnish the accused persons with the relevant documents in order to prepare for their defence and pointed out that the prosecution would do so when the court deem it fit to do so.
Justice Basirou V.P.Mahoney, the presiding judge however ordered the prosecution to serve the defence with the relevant documents such as the witness statement, accused persons’ statements and the recorded audio.
The matter was then adjourned to the 8th February 2023.
The presiding judge ordered that Omar Njie, who had since been detained at the Fajara barracks, should now be remanded along with his co-accused persons at the Mile II Central Prisons.