The Gambia Police Force has reacted to an opinion piece (editorial) ran by the Foroyaa Newspaper headlined: "Will There Be an Inquest This Time on Another Death in Police Custody"? In the editorial, Foroyaa pointed out that when Lamin Krubally died in police custody on 12th July, there was no Coroner's inquest to inquire into the cause of death, suggesting that "will the police this time defy the law or will they report the matter to the Chief Justice so that a Coroner will be appointed to inquire into the cause of death in accordance with the Coroner's Inquest? It does not suffice to say that the cause of death is injury on the head but to further enquire what caused the injury."
The police, in response, said in compliance with Section 6(1) of the Coroner's Act, the office of the IGP had instructed the police investigators through the office of the CMC to probe into the matters of the late Lamin Krubally who allegedly committed suicide in the Nema- Kunku Police Post Cells. They disclosed that the police investigation was almost completed and will be available to the relevant authorities.
Below is the release dispatched by the The Gambia Police Force:
With reference to the August 1, 2017, edition of the Editorial of Foroyaa Newspaper, which states "WILL THERE BE AN INQUEST THIS TIME ON ANOTHER DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY"? The office of the IGP hereby makes clarifications.
As demanded by Section 6(1) of the Coroner's Act, "When any person dies while in the custody of the police or of a prison officer, the police officer or the prison officer or any other person having the custody or charge of the deceased person at the time of his death shall immediately give notice of the death to the nearest coroner and such coroner shall hold an inquiry into the case of such death."
Under this backdrop, the office of the IGP has instructed the police investigators through the office of the CMC to probe into the matters of the late LaminKrubally who allegedly committed suicide in the Nema- Kunku police post cells. The police investigation is almost complete and will be available to the relevant authorities.
To ensure a genuine expert opinion in supporting the police version of the investigation, the office of the Inspector General of Police applied a request for postmortem to be conducted on Lamin Krubally on 14th July, 2017and addressed to and sign by H.M. CORONER Magistrate I. Janneh- Njie.
On the 17th July, 2017, a postmortem was conducted on Lamin Krubally in the presence of two of his family members Ebrima Fall of Farafenni and Samba Kebbeh of Bakau. He was confirmed death by the pathologist, Professor M.A.I. Khalid of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. The autopsy report indicated that, the primary cause of Krubally's death is head injury and the secondary cause is trauma on the skull.
Notwithstanding, for the purpose of clarity,independence and impartiality, the office of the IGP wrote to the Chief Justice to appoint a Coroner for an inquest into the death of Lamin Krubally of Nema-Kunku.BecauseKrubally is allegedly said to have died under police custody, the office of the IGP deemed it necessary for an independent body to investigate the matter.Thus, on the 31stJuly, 2017, the Chief Justice appointed Principal Magistrate Lamin George of Bundung Magistrate court as Coroner to probe into the matter so as to ascertain the circumstances leading to Lamin Krubally's death.
In a similar but different incident, the office of the IGP through the office of the CMC is currently investigating the death of Ebrima Jallow a 60year (previously reported to be 72years old) of Faji-Kunda. Ebrima died when he was invited by the police after a complaint of marabout fraud was registered against him.
During the questioning processing, he started shivering and collapsed. The police help to escorted him to Faji-Kunda hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, he was confirmed death.
On the 31st July, 2017, the police applied a request for postmortem to be conducted on Ebrima's body, sign by the Commissioner of Police Banjul on behalf of the IGP and address to H.M. CORONER Magistrate Omar Jabang.
However, on the 31st day of July, 2017 a family member of the late Ebrima Folly Jallow, Caw Toure sign an affidavit in opposition of post mortem to be conducted on Ebrima Folly Jallow.
The office of the IGP wants to remind the general public that the police never defy any law especially in this new democratic dispensation as insinuated by Foroyaanewspaper.The police are only following a lawful process in these matters.
The office further urges the general public especially the media fraternity to exercise patience with the police, particularly with regards to very delegate matters which must be given a due consideration to be investigated thoroughly, since that is the only way to avoid victimizing innocent people.
The office of the IGP takes this opportunity to extend it condolence and sympathy on behalf of the entire Gambia Police Force, to the families of the departed soul. May Allah shower his mercy on the departed souls.