State withdraws charges against alleged kidnappers of Mahawa Cham

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By Baba Sillah

After almost five months without substantiating the criminal liability of the alleged kidnappers of Mahawa Cham, a former APRC National Assembly member, the state counsel yesterday applied for the withdrawal of charges against Baboucarr Jarju and Swandi Camara, who are alleged to have kidnapped Mr Cham for the purpose of murder.

Baboucarr Jarju and Swandi Camara were being tried on charges of kidnapping for the purpose of murder, conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretense. They are alleged to have kidnapped Mahawa Cham, a former APRC lawmaker, from Senegal and brought him to The Gambia where he and one Sulayman Ndow are believed to have been murdered.

The duo however denied any responsibility since the day they were arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court in Banjul.
They appealed to the court to be granted bail because they have been languishing in remand for five months without anything being done.

Their request for bail was denied all along but yesterday the state applied to Justice Odomo  for the withdrawal of the case  and the judge accordingly withdrew the case soon after the state counsel, O Danso appealed to her to do so.

Speaking to journalists after the withdrawal of the case, Sarjo Cham, a brother to late Mahawa Cham described the outcome of the case as “unfortunate and travesty of justice” and called on the state to thoroughly investigate the matter so as to bring justice for the family.

“I am disappointed with the outcome of the case because when the 1st accused [Baboucarr Jarju] was arrested, I was with him when the police were taking his cautionary statement and he explained to the police how Mahawa Cham was arrested in Dakar,” he said.

Sarjo Cham further said he will not rest until justice is done and it is seen to be done as this is sending a bad signal to the public who want to see that justice and rule of law prevail in The Gambia.