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City of Banjul
Thursday, January 21, 2021

Darboe: Jobarteh’s trial is politically motivated

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“Broadcasting gamos is not an offence but covering a UDP rally is a crime. That is malicious [on the part of the state]. It is oppressiveness and shameful. This is a political trial, a politically motivated trial,” Darboe, who is the lawyer for Mr Jobarteh charged.

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Jobarteh is standing criminal trial at the Bundung Magistrates Court presided over by Ibrahim Kijera charged with broadcasting without a licencee. Prosecution said he gave information abroad via Skype while attending the opposition UDP political rallies at Tallinding and Brikama. He denied any wrongdoing. 

Addressing the court yesterday after the prosecution’s cross-examination of his client, Darboe urged the court to discharge and acquit Mr Jobarteh. 

He argued further: “The charge against the accused is [meant] to stop the flow of information, an attempt to stop reporting about UDP. It becomes quite evident from the law that no offence has been committed and the burden of prove has not been proven by the prosecution.

“When the prosecution fails to prove that charge, the prosecution is bound to fail. There is no evidence that the accused did use television or radio to broadcast anything. Is communicating via Skype by means of iPod a crime? The evidence has not been challenged by the prosecution because there is no absolute evidence that the accused broadcast anything through the medium of television or radio. What should have been prohibited is information that is inimical to the security of the state.”

Meanwhile, the prosecuting police officer, Corporal Jarju, in his counter argument, said the matter before the court was a criminal case and not political as alleged by the counsel. “The UDP is not brought to court but the accused. He should confine himself on the charge before the court.”

He said he will file a written address before the resumption of the trail on June 5 for adoption of briefs. 

 

By Binta Bah

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