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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

No access for journalists in State House attack suspects trial

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Details of the case are however not clear, as the press is denied access to cover the trial. 

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“You cannot have access to enter even if you have authority from the army public relations officer,” a military officer at Fajara Barracks informed journalists yesterday.

“This case is different. It is unlike the one held before at the Yundum Barracks. So, there is no access for the press to cover the case.”

General Court Martial was established under Gambia Armed Forces Act of 1985 with jurisdiction over treason and unlawful killing involving military personnel, as well as enforcement of internal discipline through military law.

More than two dozen family members, who were found sitting at the outskirts of the barracks yesterday, said they are given limited access since the case began last week Wednesday. 

“Yes, we do have access to witness the proceedings provided that the court is not full but today, we are late, so we could not enter,” one of them told The Standard.

Nine gunmen comprising former Gambian military officers based in the US and Germany, as well as former US military officers of Gambian descent, launched an attack on State House on December 30 in a bid to overthrow the government. Four of the attackers were killed while four escaped and one was captured by government forces. 

Although the government confirmed in a press release that only one serving Gambian soldier was involved, unconfirmed reports said at least six people are being tried at the court martial in connection to the attack. 

Colonel Momodou Sowe is the president of the court martial. The director of public prosecution, Saleh Barkun, and Olimatou Danso, a prosecutor, are appearing for the state. High court judge, Emmanuel Amadi, is the judge advocate.

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