By Binta A Bah
Nenneh Freda Gomez, the country coordinator of Home Of Medical Missions (HOMM), her colleague Gilbert Manga, a Fatu Network cameraman Lamin Sey, who were arrested following an incident in Bijilo, have succeeded in claiming compensation after a high court judge found that their arrest and detention were unlawful and unconstitutional.
Justice B.A Bakri of the high court complex at Banjul Magistrates’ Court ordered the state to pay compensation of D100,000 to Gomez, Manga and Sey. He also ordered another cost of D20,000 to be paid to the applicants and their unconditional release in respect of the said allegation.
The trio had filed a suit demanding a compensation of one million dalasi for wrongful arrest and detention.
The applicants were detained at the Kairaba police station where they were charged with two counts of malicious injury to properties and criminal trespass after police broke up a press conference called by the mediacl mission about the disputed land which used to house the police anti-crime unit.
In his ruling, the judge agreed that the actions of police officers were totally in contravention of the constitutional provision which guarantees the fundamental rights of the applicants.
He said the fact as stated and uncontroverted is that the applicants, being representative of HOMM, were harassed and detained merely because they were in defense of the property which has been shown to rightfully belong to them.
“In this instance and in view of the uncontroverted facts before this court, it is clear that the rights of the applicants were breached by their unlawful arrest and detention in the hands of the respondents,” the judge said before making the order.