7 December 2012

Gambia: PW3 Testifies in Prison Break Case

Modou Sonko, a native of London Corner, Serrekunda, yesterday testified before acting Principal Magistrate Babucarr Secka of the Banjul Magistrates' court as the third prosecution witness in the ongoing alleged misdemeanor offences involving Sulayman Jammeh alias 'Dad' and eighteen others.

According to the witness, he was one time in remand and on the 27th of October, he was at the remand wing of Mile II Central Prison.

When asked by police prosecutor 5258 Faye whether he had anything to do with accused persons, the witness responded that nothing transpired between him and the accused persons; adding that he was sitting at the remand wing around 1-2pm. He said officers came and said there were people who wanted to escape from prison and all of them went back to the cells. He added that at 2pm the prison officers went to open the doors and the first accused told them that he wanted to go to the toilet but the officers refused; adding that the first accused fell down on the ground at the time the officers were returning him to the cell and when Jammeh fell down some of the remand prisoners were saying that he has dead. He added that the officers later poured some water on him and later took him to their office.

Mr. Sonko told the court that the accused persons in cell number 11 told the officers that anything that happened to Jammeh they would be responsible and some of the accused persons, namely Lamin Saidykhan, Gibbi Sey, Tapha and Dicko followed the officers to their office.

According to the witness, some of the accused persons that were in cell number 1-6 transferred to cell number 7-11. He added that the prison officers later calmed them down and returned them to their cells but at 8Pm, they were taken to confinement.

Under cross examination, counsel for some of the accused persons Ebrima Jah asked the witness whether he has seen any one attacking an officer, he responded that there is a space in between cells and would not know what happened to the other side. He said he is not aware of the attack of prison officer Amadou Tamba.

Responding to another question raised by counsel, he the witness informed the court that cell number 7 and 8 were opened by Abdou Saidy (11th accused).

Apart from saidy, did you see anybody also damaging property? The witness answered in the negative? He added that it is correct that the first accused was dropped down by officers and no one was trying to escape.

The witness finally testified that the accused persons were upset because the first accused was unconscious.

The application for bail on behalf of some accused persons was refused by the court on grounds that during this alleged offence they were awaiting their fate on pending cases.

Hearing continues to 11 of December, 2012.

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