4 December 2012

Gambia: In Alleged Prison Break Case - PW Two Testifies

One Amadou Tamba, a prison officer attached to the state central prison, Mile II, on Thursday testified as the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the criminal trial involving the state against Sulayman Jammeh, alias Daddy Boston, and 18 others at the Banjul Magistrates' Court, presided over by Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe.

In his testimony, PW2 told the court that he is posted at the Remand Wing of the said prison and that on the 27th October 2012 he was at the Remand Wing on duties. According to him, after they (the officers) completed their taking over, he fetched water for the inmates and upon reaching cell number 11 he put a 20-litre gallon at the door and told one of the officers called Borry to open the door for the inmates to take the water.

According to him, the first accused came out and insisted that he would go to toilet before going back to the cell and he (PW2) held his hand, refusing to allow him go. He said he later allowed him to go and instructed an officer called Lamin Dibba to escort him to the toilet.

PW2 said the accused then refused to enter the toilet and put off the cigarette he was having on the said officer's body. His fellow inmates told him to pretend to be unconscious, after putting off the cigarette on the officer's body. He pretended to be unconscious just as told and because the officer was scared he poured water on him but Daddy Boston remained still.

The witness further told the court that when this happened, Gibbi Sey took a bench and started to break the door and when he wanted to go to their office, Gibbi Sey pulled out his belt and together with Echen Mendy, Ousman Sonko and Moses Mbaye they beat him. After the beating, PW2 said he went on top of the prison tower and someone threw a stone at him but he did not know who did it. When he came down the tower, he said, he saw their senior officers coming.

During cross-examination of the witness by the defence counsel for the first and fifth accused persons, the witness admitted that he was scared when the 1st accused pretended to be unconscious, though he knew that Daddy Boston was pretending.

The witness denied that he and Lamin Dibba carried the 1st accused to the cell, dropped him there and he (Daddy Boston) hit his head on the ground and that was why he went unconscious. He said he did not mention in his statement that he was assaulted; he only said it in the court when the prosecutor asked him, adding that all he said had happened. The witness finally said that he was beaten for about ten minutes by five of the accused persons but he did not sustain any injury.

At that juncture, the case was adjourned to December 4th 2012 for continuation.

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