Casamance Nine Convicted

Friday, October 26, 2007

The nine citizens of the Senegalese southern province of Casamance currently undergoing trial for various offences were yesterday convicted for unlawful possession of Gambian National Identity card and the verdict for the offence in question would be delivered at the end of the trial, of which seven other charges are yet to be decided. The Banjul Magistrates’ Court, chaired by Magistrate B.Y. Camara, pronounced the conviction of the nine men who hail from various villages in Casamance.

The nine men were sometime last month formally charged at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court with four offences of unlawful possession of Gambian ID card, conspiracy to carry out acts of terrorism against a neighbouring state, to wit, Senegal, collecting photographs or documents of a confidential nature concerning security installations in The Gambia which may be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy, receiving military equipment, among others.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to all these charges except one revolving around unlawful possession of Gambian ID card.

In prosecuting the accused the state prosecutor informed the court that the nine men had falsely acquired Gambian ID cards.

According to Emmanuel Fagbenle, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the nine men had in their cautionary statements, individually admitted that they came from various villages in the southern Senegalese province. He added that all the documents have been confiscated by the officer that investigated the men.

The DPP said when it comes to the Laws of The Gambia and the Immigration Act, it is a punishable offence for non-Gambians to hold Gambian ID card.

In another development, two of the nine men yesterday pleaded guilty to the charge of falsely acquiring a Gambian birth certificate, another two admitted entering The Gambia without pass or permit whilst one pleaded guilty to the charge of making a false declaration to acquire a Gambian passport.

They were ‘accordingly’ convicted and are now awaiting verdict as their trial over other charges continues.

Author: By Modou Sanyang
Source: The Point