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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Sabally could face treason charges

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By Alagie Manneh

Abdoulie Fatty, the lawyer of detained UDP campaign manager Momodou Sabally, has expressed fears that his client could face treason charges as part of a “well-designed” scheme to deny him his freedom.

Speaking to The Standard in the wake of a protest yesterday during which police fired teargas and assaulted some supporters demanding for Sabally’s release, Lawyer Fatty said the charges are likely to be brought forward by the AG’s Chambers today.

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“I believe the police will charge Sabally with treason tomorrow,” he said. “You just have to look at their footprint. You have to look at the direction they are going to know that that is a reasonable anticipation of where they are heading. It is another well-designed deliberate calculated strategy because treason is non bailable. When you charge Sabally with treason, he is going to be remanded in custody at the Mile 2 prisons. So, I don’t see an end in sight. What I anticipate is a current of abuse of power; an abuse of the law by the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers.”

Turning to yesterday morning’s protest, which started out peacefully with supporters of Sabally taking the knee, Mr Fatty said of the police action:

“They rolled teargas cannisters to the crowd and you could see smoke emanating from the cannisters. As the crowd was retreating, they threw another two or three. It caused chaos. An unnecessary sort of brutality. The protesters did not provoke the police in any way. I tried to block my nose and mouth. It was a really excruciating experience,” he explained.

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He described the police action as a “deliberate, well-calculated ploy”.

“[It] is very, very unfortunate to see scenes like that, especially for a country that went through so much.”

Mr Fatty said “police brutality” has become ubiquitous, and that it makes a mockery of the entire TRRC process.

“Why do we have to create and establish TRRC and embark on this entire transitional justice journey, submit a final TRRC report and the government coming up with a White Paper? At the moment we are going through spending so much money about how we implement the recommendations of the TRRC. Why are we bothering with all of these if the same state is behaving in such a brutal and lawless manner”? he asked. 

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