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Friday, October 15, 2021

Lawyer said Observer editor should be freed because he was ‘tortured’

Lawyer S Gaye who was addressing the court after his brief was adopted said Alhagie Jobe was tortured before his cautionary and voluntary statements were obtained at the National Intelligence Agency. “It is my submission that he was tortured in obtaining Exhibit G and F1 (statements) and we urged the court to attach no weight to the mentioned exhibits. I want this court to discharge and acquit the accused persons,” he said.

Jobe is standing trial on a five-count charge of making an act with seditious intention, seditious publication, and possession of seditious publication, giving false information to public servant, and reckless and negligent act at the special criminal division in Banjul. He is accused of publishing a seditious publication on a purported Daily Observer newspaper of 19th December 2012 to wit: that “Major Lamin Touray is on the run from imminent re-arrest and detention and charged in absentia for breach of office ethics and codes, by refusing to take orders in the execution of some people”.

Jobe’s co-accused, Mbye Bittay is facing a single count of preparing to commit an act with seditious intention. He is said to have called Assan Sallah of Observer Company and asked him to publish a story on the Daily Observer for Samba Njie who is seeking for asylum in the United Kingdom. The two men denied any wrongdoing.

Throughout his submission, Lawyer Gaye maintained that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the accused persons as none of the witnesses linked his clients to the charges. “The ingredients of the offences were not proved by the state prosecutor. He failed to produce a material witness, Asssan Sallah, who is listed as a state witness.”

He said the charge of ‘reckless and negligent act’ was caused by the NIA officers and not his client. “The evidence by [a witness] established that it was NIA who caused the accident while they were trying to apprehend him (Jobe). They forced the accused to drive into the wall,” the lawyer added.

On the other handed, the state prosecutor told the court that editor Jobe was arrested and found in possession of seditious publication. “During the investigation it was found out that the seditious publication was prepared by the accused in order to assist one Lamin Touray to seek political asylum abroad. This Lamin Touray never existed in the army,” the state prosecutor submitted. “In his evidence, he gave the impression that he was ordered by the managing director, Pa Malick Faye, which is just a mere excuse.”

He went on: “If the prosecution had not proved its case, the submission of no-case-to-answer by the defence would not have been overruled by this court.”

Meanwhile the judge has announced that he will deliver judgement on one-year, five-month trial on 3 September 2014. However, Jobe’s lawyer has said he intended to file another bail application even though several attempts to secure the release of his client from state custody were denied since his arrest on February 7, 2013.

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