8 members of 3 Year Jotna charged, case transferred to SCC

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Police prosecutors have levelled a three-count charge of unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation and rioters demolishing structures against eight members of the banned pressure group, 3 Years Jotna.

The eight men were arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Kanifing on Wednesday, but Magistrate P Sarr transferred the case to the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, following an application made by the prosecution, saying the lower court lacks the jurisdiction to try the matter.

The group clashed with officers of the Police Intervention Unit on Sunday, while amplifying their call for President Adama Barrow to respect the three years mandate agreement he had with coalition political leaders before the 2016 presidential elections.

When the case was called before Magistrate P. Sarr, Police prosecutor MB Mballow applied for the matter to be transferred to the High Court, saying the lower court lacks the jurisdiction to try the case. He said counts one and two involve imprisonment sentences of one and five years and count three involves life imprisonment.

But lead defence council Lamin S Camara argued that the court have the jurisdiction to try the case and urged the Court to disregard the prosecution’s application. The Magistrate however granted the prosecution application and transferred the case to the upper court.

The Sunday protest, which sparked a wave of panic within Serrekunda and the surrounding environment, saw a heavy confrontation between members of the group and the paramilitary in a violent manner. Several people sustained injuries while scores were arrested, including four journalists who were release earlier on Tuesday.

Two radio stations were also shutdown, claiming that they were reporting the protest with acts of inciting violence. The radio stations are still closed while the country’s journalist trade union, Gambia Press Union continue to pressure for the opening.

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