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City of Banjul
Friday, October 30, 2020

Caliph Hydara denies flouting president’s injunction

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The embattled scholar, who finished giving evidence yesterday, said he was not guilty of the charges against him.  “I am not guilty of the charges against me and I did not disobey any order of the president as spelt out in the charge sheet. I had earlier said in my evidence before this court that we sighted the moon on Sunday but we could not see it until on Monday when we saw it. Then we decided to pray on Tuesday. So I did not disobey any presidential order as charged,” Caliph Hydara told the court yesterday.

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Charged along with Alkalo Buyeh Touray of the said village, the two community leaders were indicted by the Inspector General of Police for not observing the 2014 Eid-ul-fitr on the day as ordered by the chief executive, an act prosecutors believe was tantamount to disobedience to lawful order. But both men have been insisting that they are innocent.

Lawyer Lamin Mboge, the defence attorney, then asked his client to tell the court those diseases the president of the Supreme Islamic Council, Imam Momodou Lamin Touray, told him needed to be cured when he met him in his office at Kanifing. 

The accused octogenarian responded: “Imam Touray said these are diseases human beings can suffer from knowingly, while some can only be detected by a doctor and I think you can call Mr Touray to explain that to the court because I don’t know what he meant by those diseases.”

Quizzed again by his attorney as how the meeting he had with Imam Fatty and others ended, Hydara who could not stand in the dock due to ill-health replied: “The meeting ended peaceably and I was not asked to apologise. The people I could recognise at the meeting were Imam Abdoulie Fatty and Imam Modou Lamin Touray but I could recognise one Ebrima Jarju who also spoke at the meeting and I could not remember how many people were among Imam Fatty’s group.”

Meanwhile under cross-examination by the police prosecutor, Sergeant E Sarr, the caliph general said he is the head of the ‘Sheriffs’ [professed descendants of the Prophet Muhammad] in The Gambia and Senegal. He added that he has followers and with the help of Allah, they abide by his advice.

“Is it correct that the president has the executive authority over all of us and his words should be obeyed?” the prosecutor inquired.

But the defence objected on the basis that the question was a legal issue and the prosecution needed not to speculate on matter that is not before the court.

The matter was adjourned to 9 April, 2015 for continuation of cross-examination.

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