Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Justice Emmanuel Nkea will also be held responsible

Amadou Sanneh (no relation) is the National Treasurer of the leading opposition party in The Gambia.  He's an accountant by training and had once served as Gambia's Accountant General.  For those who know him, and like many of the leaders the United Democratic Party (UDP), he was never in politics until recently.  And like the rest of the party leadership, Amadou was driven into politics because of a vicious dictatorship that has held Gambians in bondage for 19 years while a group of malfeasance ran the economy into the ground, who proceeded to threaten anyone who dare speak, with torture, death, forced exile or disappearance.

Amadou Sanneh is a successful businessman, a family man and a deeply religious human being.  He was arrested on the 25th September 2013 by agents of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and charged, together with three others ( one of whom turned state witness), with sedition.  He had written a letter supporting the asylum application of a UDP supporter, one Malang Fatty whom Amadou had claimed in the letter to have received death threats from the state's security agents - a routine practice - and that the UDP membership is routinely persecuted - a fact.  Malang Fatty's brother was arrested for asking Amadou Sanneh to write the letter, together with the Commissioner of Oath, Bakary Baldeh, for certifying the letter as a statement of fact.

Since their arrest, and until their first court appearance a month later, Amadou and the others have been in state custody, held incommunicado with no access to their lawyers.  For an entire month, and while in custody, these men were tortured constantly with the obvious intent of extracting "confession" before a national television audience.  In the words of Amnesty International's The Gambia researcher, "in the Gambia, criticizing the government often carries an enormous cost.  Forcing political opponents to "confess" to crimes on national TV seems to be the latest callous strategy by the authorities to prevent anyone from criticizing them."

The YouTube video evidence that Amadou Sanneh was a victim of torture at the hands of the NIA that led him to the "confession" of a seditious act can be found here  His tormentors on the video are supposedly "television journalists and cameramen", employed by the state-controlled television station.  These so-called "journalists" are equally culpable.  Any evidence extracted through torture is inadmissible in a court of law.

Amadou Sanneh, Malang Fatty and Sambou Fatty were formally arraigned and charged with conspiracy to commit an act with seditious intent, sedition, possession of seditious material and false swearing.  Despite that these are bailable offenses, Amadou has been denied bail thrice by the Special Criminal Court presided by justice Emmanuel Nkea, a Cameroonian-born and South African-trained judge.  He is one of the mercenary judges contracted by the Gambian dictator to enforcing the official government policy of suppressing the will of the Gambian people through the judiciary.

Justice Emmaunel Nkea has been the subject of this blog found here where he was described as " a political wheeler-dealer" and the "go to" judge in the repressive regime of Jammeh to put away the regimes political enemies, real and perceived.  The judge looks ready to strike again on behalf of the Gambian dictatorship and against the law he swore to uphold.  

By denying Amadou Sanneh bail for an offence that is bailable, this judge is acting callously, and at the direction of Yaya Jammeh, and thus putting the life of the defendant in danger.  Amadou is suffering from high blood pressure and he's a diabetic who was denied access to his medications for a month, and while he was being tortured.  Justice Emmanuel Nkea is very well aware of the medical condition of the accused and yet he's been denied bail for the third time.

The accused is a respected member of the business community, and as a consultant he is managing numerous contracts on behalf of his clients.  He has contractual obligations to fulfill and payroll to meet.  Therefore, the livelihood of many Gambian families depend on the success of his business to jump bail.  In short,  Amadou is not a flight risk, and thus, should be allowed to go home and be with his family, seek medical treatment and run his business while he the trial is on.  All these arguments were argued before the judge who elected to take orders from the Gambian dictator rather than follow the dictates of the law.

The Gambian judiciary has unfortunately become an integral part of the state's repressive machinery, using mercenary judges like Emmanuel Nkea, in the most sinister manner to help perpetuate a very corrupt and incompetent regime.  Judge Emmanuel Nkea will not be absolve of responsibility should the physical integrity of any of the accused is affected in any adverse manner.  Meanwhile, our international campaign against mercenary judges collaborating with the Gambian dictator continues.