- A regional court in The Gambia on Monday convicted and sentenced a taxi driver, Ebou Sey, to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping a 9-year-old school girl. This is one of the first court cases involving a Gambian paedophile, thus creating judicial and media history in the country.
Mr Sey was charged with having unlawful canal knowledge with a minor without her consent on 17 December 2006 in the outskirts of Serekunda, a commercial town just outside the capital of The Gambia, Banjul.
He pleaded guilty to the charge, which violates Section 122 of the Gambian Criminal Code and went further to furnish the court how he had committed the act.
"I came across the girl on her way to school, I was attracted by her structure and I therefore could not control my feeling," Mr Sey told the court, adding that he had therefore overpowered the minor girl and had carnal knowledge with her on a thick-long grass. "I definitely acted unwisely," he further admitted.
In his verdict, Magistrate Moses Richards, condemned rape in strongest possible terms and described it as a serious offence that must not be entertained in any civilised society.
Mr Richards said the courts would not therefore have mercy on any person found guilty of such crimes, which according to him, poses victims to great number of risks, including contracting sexually-transmitted infections and psychological traumas. The court thought that the stiff punishment would serve as a deterrent to would-be rapists in the country.
Over the years, children and women's rights activists have been campaigning for harsh punishment to be levied on anybody found guilty of the act of rape in The Gambia. They would receive the verdict with joy.
It was reported that a lot of Gambian children and women have become victims of rape.
In The Gambia, paedophilia has earlier gotten much attention in the local press due to a rather large number of sex tourists from Europe abusing young and poor girls and boys. Several cases against tourists have been before the courts in The Gambia and in Europe.
Among Gambians, however, the sexual abuse of minors has been largely seen as a non-African act of crime and perversion - at least by officials. The issue of paedophilia among Gambians therefore has not received much public attention until the trial against
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