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Friday, September 25, 2020

Supreme Court urged to overturn Gen Tamba’s death sentence

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Sheriff Tambadou urged the seven-judge panel chaired by Chief Justice Eli Nawaz Chowhan to overturn the sentence of death of each of the eight men. The convicts turned to the same court for their case to be reviewed after the supreme court’s decision to uphold the death sentence verdict delivered by the court of appeal. 

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Addressing the court, Tambadou said “exceptional circumstance” exists for the panel to review the judgment of Court of Appeal.

“I pray that the convicts of each of the applicants be set aside. In the alternative, the sentence for death be reduced to a lesser sentence. The facts of this case show that no violence took place. No one got injury or died,” Tambadou said.

Tamba, former deputy defence chief Omar Bun Mbye, former intelligence chief Lamin BO Badjie, former deputy police chief Modou Gaye, former senior military officer Kawsu Camara alias ‘Bombardier’, former Gambian diplomat Gibril Ngorr Seck and tycoon Abdoulie Joof ‘alias Lie Joof’, were convicted and sentenced to death by Justice Amadi in June 2010 for attempting to overthrow the government of The Gambia in 2009. 

In 2011, the convicts challenged the decision at the court of appeal but were also rejected. This recent action is their last cause of action in their bid to overturn their death sentence. 

In his attempt to convince the panel, Tambadou also said the death penalty should have been reviewed after ten years of its existence. “The 1997 Constitution is the voice of Gambians. The court should not ignore that the people of The Gambia should review the death penalty within 10 years. I voted for the 1997 Constitution and the National Assembly should review the death penalty,” he said.

However, one of the judges said Tambedou was only “restricting himself” on the issue of the sentence given to eight men but Tambadou maintained that they [the panel of judges] have “exceptional circumstance” which will benefit Lt Tamba and his co-convicts. “We submit that exceptional circumstances exist for your lordships to review this court’s judgment dated 19 October 2012. We urged the court to grant the prayers we sought,” he said.

The chief prosecutor was supposed to respond to the lawyer’s argument but was told to get his acts in order by the chief justice. He is expected to argue why the Supreme Court should uphold the decision of the appeal court today.

The death row inmates were escorted to court amid heightened security. They were all dressed in caftan. The tiny courtroom was full of lawyers and few family members. However, most of the family members and well-wishers crammed the court doorway as they tried to enter. Lamin BO Badjie was heard telling the security men in Mandinka to allow his family in before the session started. However, few people were allowed in to see the convict when judges rose for their first break.

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