29 January 2013

Gambia: Court Martial Disgraces, Dismisses Two Convicted Soldiers

The 3 member Military Officer panelists at the General Court Martial taking place at the home of the First Infantry Battalion at Yundum Barracks, on Monday, 28 January, sentenced the 2 convicted soldiers who were found guilty on Friday, 25 January, of the offences of abusing their inferiors at The Gambia Armed Forces Training School during the training of soldiers of Intake 30 in 2009.

Before reading out the sentences to a crowded courtroom filled by soldiers and few relatives of the convicts, Colonel Paul S. Gomez, the president of the Court Martial, said they had taken into cognisance the length of service of the convicts in the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), the plea of leniency by their counsels, and the fact that they are first time offenders. He reminded the convicts of their guilt on all counts charged under Section 59 of the Armed Forces Act for abusing their inferiors and read out the sentence as thus: "84 GNA 12387 Sergeant Jarju Manlafi, you are hereby disgraced and dismissed from The Gambia Armed Forces under Section 126 of the Armed Forces Act. Your dismissal is subjected to convening authority". He continued "84 GNA Corporal Jatta Karamo, you are hereby disgraced and dismissed from The Gambia Armed Forces under Section 126 of the Armed Forces Act. Your dismissal is subjected to convincing authority".

There was murmuring and whistling from different angles in the courtroom in reaction to the verdict.

The dismissed soldiers were immediately escorted by Military Police personnel towards the charge office in the army camp.

Lawyer Borry S. Touray, defending Sergeant Jarju, told Foroyaa he is more likely not to appeal against the sentence, whilst lawyer Edrissa M. Sissoho stated his intention of appealing on behalf of his client Corporal Jatta.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), S.H. Barkun said justice has been done and all parties should be contented with the verdict.

It could be recalled that Sergeant Manlafi Jarju was charged with 4 counts of abusing Sona Badjie and Sona Jammeh as his inferiors at the GAFTS during the training of Intake 30, when he was an Instructor. Corporal Karamo Jatta was charged with a single count for abusing Sona Badjie at the same time and place.

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