Gambia: Yankuba Badjie & Co Protest in Red T-Shirts As They Demand Judge to Recuse Herself

20 April 2021

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara has asked former NIA officials in the NIA 9 murder trial to behave themselves and stop their disruptive behaviour in court.

Yankuba Badjie, Sheikh Omar Jeng and four other former officials of the defunct National Intelligence Agency on Monday, 19th April protested in court by refusing to enter the box for the case to continue.

They dressed in red t-shirts and wore red face masks demanding the judge, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara to recuse herself from their case.

The case was adjourned the last time before the just ended two weeks' vacation.

This is the second time they have protested in court. The first protest was on the last adjourned date. On that day, the accused persons refused to sit down and they told the judge directly that she should recuse herself from the case.

On Monday, 19th April, the accused persons were called upon by the trial judge to enter the accused persons' box (dock) but they all refused to adhere to her call.

Former Director General Yankuba Badjie told the judge that they are maintaining their request for her to recuse herself from the case.

"I don't care about that. You have to exercise decorum," the judge said.

The judge asked the defence lawyers to talk to the accused persons to behave. This was when Defence lawyers headed by Emmanuel E. Chime went to the accused persons pleading with them to enter the dock. The accused persons insisted that they won't enter the dock.

"Come here," the judge told the lawyers, adding "The court will take a decision."

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara described the accused persons' refusal to obey her instruction requesting them to enter the box as "disruptive behaviour."

"I will not allow them to come here and disrupt the court," she warned.

She mentioned that she had never seen accused persons behave in the way the former NIA officials conducted themselves in court on Monday.

"It shows their defiance," she said.

"We want to be given time to speak to our clients," Lawyer Chime said.

"Which time?" The judge asked.

"To talk to them," Chime replied.

"No. Last time I allowed them to protest. They made their noise. Today, they are here in their red t-shirts and refusing to enter the dock," the judge said.

"May I request for two minutes to speak to them," Chime pleaded.

"It is ok. I will be the one in control of my court. The court will take a decision," the judge said.

In her ruling, the judge said on the last adjourned date, the accused persons refused to sit down when she asked them to do so and were making a lot of noise in court. She explained that the accused persons asked her to recuse herself from the case on the last adjourned date.

She detailed that on Monday (yesterday) they dressed in red t-shirts in protest. The judge said she asked them to enter the box but they all refused to obey her order.

"This is disruptive," she said.

She made an order that the accused persons remain at Mile 2 Prison until they are ready to change their behaviour.

"All accused persons shall not appear in this case," she ruled.

This means the trial will continue in their absence and they will be allowed to come back only if they are ready to change their conduct.

She adjourned the case to the 20th April 2021.

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