10 July 2018

Gambia: At the Court - Martial - Absence of Panel Member Impedes Trial

The General Court Martial which presides the case of twelve accused soldiers of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), who have been alleged to have planned a coup against the current regime and communicated amongst themselves by creating a 'WhatsApp' group, on Monday July 9th 2018, failed to proceed. The reason given was that one of the experienced member of the panel, was indisposed. Thus, hindering the progress of the court.

After two hours of the court's normal starting time, members of the panel appeared to inform the court that the absence of Lt. Colonel Mai Touray, will impede the progress of the court. The judge advocate Sainabou Cisse Wadda further said even though there was a waiting member in their midst, the case could not continue; that the effective functions of Lt. Colonel Touray in the Court-Martial is not comparable to a new member of the panel.

She described Touray as someone who has good knowledge of the case because he has been following it from the onset. However, whilst this announcement was made in court, media and members of the public in attendance, could not hide their displeasure with the absence of one of the panellists, compared to a fully seated quorum.

It could be recalled that the twelve members of GAF face trial on nine counts which involve treason. The case is set to continue on Tuesday July 10th 2018 at 10 am.

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