By Bruce Asemota
Ousainu Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party, has filed a suit against the Government of The Gambia at the Ecowas Court of Justice in Abuja, Nigeria, judicial sources have confirmed to The Standard.
It could be recalled that Darboe, Kemeseng Jammeh, Femi Peters, Lamin Dibba, Lamin Jatta, Yaya Bah, Babucarr Camara, Fakebba Colley, Ismaila Ceesay, Momodou Fatty, Dodou Ceesay, Samba Kinteh, Mamudu Manneh, Nfamara Kuyateh, Lamin Njie, Yaya Jammeh, Momodou LK Sanneh, Massaneh Lalo Jawla, Fanta Darboe and Junkuna Suso were jailed for three years in July 2016 by Justice E Dada of the High Court in Banjul after they were convicted on variousoffences under the Public Order Act among others.
Eleven out of these persons, including Ousainu Darboe who is the secretary general of the party, were executive members of the UDP.
Prior to their conviction, they were in prison custody since April, 2016.
Darboe’s suit which came before the Ecowas court recently, was adjourned after a representative of The Gambia Government made an appearance.
The writ of summons filed before the court disclosed among other things that these persons were arrested on 16 April, 2016, remanded in custody and arraigned before the High Court on 20 April, 2016 on seven counts, with two of the charges being under the Public Order Act Cap 22:01 of the Laws of The Gambia.
The writ also disclosed that most of the people were members of the UDP and were at the time exercising their constitutional right to freedom to assemble and demonstrate peaceably and without arms and to move freely within The Gambia.
Ousainu Darboe is seeking among other things a declaration by the Ecowas Court of Justice that their arrest, and detention in April 2016, subsequent conviction and sentence were illegal and violated their rights to freedom to assemble, demonstrate peaceably and without arms among others.
It could be recalled that other Gambians like the families of the late Deyda Hydara and Ebrima ‘Chief’ Manneh, Alagie Jobe, Musa Saidykhan, Fatou Camara and Fatou Jaw Manneh, and former chief justice, the Nigerian Joseph Wowo took the Gambia Government to the Ecowas court and the court found in their favour and compelled them to be paid compensations amounting to tens of millions of dalasis.