See also:
» 22.09.2010 - ECOWAS torture case against The Gambia nears an end
» 16.02.2010 - Gambia expels UNICEF envoy
» 03.11.2009 - "Strip Gambia off AU human rights body"
» 09.10.2009 - UN experts raise concern on Gambia's threats of rights defenders
» 02.06.2009 - US senators petition Gambia in missing journalist's case
» 24.04.2009 - ECOWAS asked to intervene on the missing journalist case
» 19.03.2009 - Court releases opposition leader
» 12.03.2009 - Gambian opposition formally charged

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Human rights | Society | Media

Court vows to acquit Gambian journalist

afrol News, 11 October - The magistrate presiding over the case of Lamin Fatty, a journalist of The Gambia's 'Independent Newspaper', was on Monday sick and tired with the state's frequent failures to proceed with the case. Principal Magistrate Kebba Sanyang of Kanifing Court therefore vowed to discharge and acquit the accused if the state is not prepared to proceed with the case on 25 October this year.

Lamin Fatty, who was earlier arrested and detained for 63 days, was charged with publishing false news. Mr Fatty has denied the charges brought against him. Since July this year, his trial has been dragging on, with the state pushing for excuse upon excuse to adjourn the case.

But it seems Magistrate Sanyang is sick and tired of these tactics and is now waiting to see whether the prosecution will proceed or not in the next sitting. "This would be the last opportunity for me to adjourn the case," he said, responding to an application filed by the state prosecutor 1748 Mballow.

In the previous hearing, Mr Mballow filed an application for adjournment because his witness, Malamin Ceesay of Major Crime Unit, travelled to United Kingdom and would not therefore be present in court.

The anger-stricken magistrate said he was accepting an adjournment application from the state for the last time and that if the state does not proceed in the next sitting on 25 October, he will acquit Mr Fatty without delay.

In a separate development, a former ruling party member of parliament, Ms Duta Kamaso, who had been detained in connection with secretly passing information to the US-based Gambian 'Freedom Newspaper', was granted bail by the High Court. She has denied passing information to what The Gambia government referred to as "hate site".

On her way to Dakar in neighbouring Senegal to treat her sick child, Ms Kamaso was tracked down by security forces who detained her for six months without trial.

Her arrest came after Gambian authorities had hacked into the site of 'Freedom Newspaper' that had been carrying sensitive and critical information about the government's activities. After the hacking, the pro-government newspaper, 'Daily Observer', was used to publish the names of subscribers and informants to the site.

The ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction party expelled Mrs Kamaso from their ranks, accusing her of leaking sensitive information to a "hate site". By being expelled from the riling party, she automatically lost her seat in parliament as well.

Like many detainees, she too was said to have gone through horrendous tortures and was denied access to her family, prompting speculations in town that she was dead.

At the Tuesday hearing, the state filed an objection against Ms Kamaso's bail, arguing that she was still being investigated. But the court allowed her to heave a sigh of relief, much to the jubilation of her family and friends who thronged her compound in their large numbers.

Malick Mboob, a communications officer of Royal Victorial Hospital in the capital Banjul, who was arrested in connection with the 'Freedom Newspaper' story in May this year, is still being detained without charge.

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