Ex-Senegalese soldier sentenced
Thursday, October 16, 2008
One Salif Jawo, an ex-military officer of the Republic of Senegal, was, on Wednesday, arraigned before the Brikama Magistrates Court, presided over by Magistrate Pa-Harry Jammeh, charged with possessing firearms and eight life rounds (bullets) and various military uniforms. The said ex-soldier was reported to have been part of the 1981 coup plot masterminded by Kukoi Samba Sanyang.
Narrating the facts before a crowded court room, Police Prosecutor Sergeant 1179 Camara, told the court that on the 3rd of September, 2008, at about 1500hrs, the accused, Salif Jawo, was detained at the Yundum Police Station for an accident he had committed. According to the police prosecutor, canabis was found in his car, which prompted the police to conduct a search at his residence in Lamin.
Sergeant Camara further told the court that a search led by Sub-Inspector Sarr, Detective 1229 Joof and Couple 538 Sambou was conducted at Salif Jawo’s residence. The search, according to Sergeant Camara, resulted to the discovery of the 8 bullets and the military uniforms. The accused was arrested and taken to the Yundum Police Station where he was cautioned and charged.
The 8 bullets and uniforms were tendered in court and marked as exhibits.
When the charge sheet was read to him, Salif Jawo pleaded guilty to the charged preferred against him. In his mitigation plea, Lawyer OD Mbai, counsel for the accused, told the court that he had accepted the court’s judgement, and he pleaded with the court to exercise mercy on his client.
He said there is no law in Senegal which says a retired soldier should not possess firearms. Lawyer Mbai added that the firearms and military uniforms were kept by the ex-soldier as memorabilia but not to threaten the lives of Gambians.
In his ruling, Magistrate Jammeh noted that it is “elements” like Salif Jawo who spoil the image of the army, moreso, the Gambian army, adding “all what Salif Jawo said are lies. You’re nothing but a criminal who has engaged in banditry”.
He then sentenced the accused to a mandatory jail term of six months with hard labour, without any option of a fine. He ordered the military uniforms and arms to be forfeited to the state.
Author: by Amadou Sonko-Bah