By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has urged the Inspector General of Police not to arrest and detain persons beyond the constitutional limit of 72 hours without charge.
Justice Jaiteh made this pronouncement on Friday whilst handing down judgment in the civil suit filed by Alhajie Sisawo alias Bora against the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General.
Bora was awarded the sum of D500.000 for his unlawful arrest and breach of his fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1997 Constitution.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the police are duty-bound and under obligation to protect fundamental rights of every person in The Gambia.
“No person’s rights should be violated with impunity and it is totally unacceptable in a democratic society like The Gambia,” Justice Jaiteh said.
He stated it must not be forgotten that the New Gambia that prides itself with democratic tenets, liberty and integrity and dignity cannot be acting unlawfully.
Justice Jaiteh further stated that in a country where there is so much hatred and animosity, the courts and the Inspector General of Police ought to be cautious in detaining persons beyond the constitutional limit of 72 hours without any substantial evidence against the person under their detention.
He stressed that in order to preserve freedom, a person not charged should not be detained for the purpose of making him or her suffer indignity as that is not the purpose and intent of the law.
He pointed out that it is inappropriate for the police or law enforcement agents to arrest persons and while in detention, they fish around for evidence to prosecute them.
He further pointed out that the law enforcement agents should think of more genuine ways of getting evidence to prosecute persons alleged to have committed any offence.
Justice Jaiteh declared that it is a settled law that the infringement of fundamental right to liberty when made out, attracts compensation as a matter of course.