Developing Story:Fatou Jaw Manneh’s case turned into an intellectual platform!
By Our Chief National Correspondent Landing Badjie, Banjul.
Paid for and Commissioned by the Freedom Newspaper.

The last sitting in the sedition trial of Fatou Jaw Manneh has turned into an intellectual platform and an excruciating academic exercise for the state witness. On the resumption of the case last Friday at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, defense counsel Lamin Jobarteh obliged the witness to complete his assignment since he was unable to clearly define ‘frosty’ in the last adjourned date of the case. On Friday, the state witness, whose identity has been concealed due to the nature of his job, was able to come up with the definition as ‘freezing’ and went further to describe ‘egoistic’ as ‘self-centered person’. In one of the counts, a statement read that ‘Gambians are desperately in need of an alternative to the egoistic frosty Imam of the APRC Jammeh’. Asked as to what part of speech is ‘frosty’,the witness admitted not being in the position to answer that.

According to the state witness, that statement in count one that Gambians are in desperate need of an alternative was inflammatory as it can stir up a civil disturbance, though nothing of that nature occurred since the publication of the statement but could nonetheless unfold.

Under a marathon cross-examination that went on for almost four hours, the state witness informed the court that since the article was published, no complaint was lodged to him personally but that a formal complaint had been lodged to the NIA offices in Banjul. He however fell short of naming the complainant(s), since according to him, security is so delicate that one cannot divulge the name of informant(s) that give helpful information. When pushed further by the defense counsel to give the names of the informants as that was vital in the case, the witness said he knew only two complainants but that he was constrained by his position to name them. He added that the two complainants were however investigated in two dimensions, first with the complainant and later the accused.

The witness pointed out that though the accused was not at the time in the country, she was nonetheless investigated when the article was published in October of 2005. The witness was however told by lawyer Jobarteh that no such complaint was made to the NIA but he [witness] insisted that a complaint was indeed lodged. Lawyer Jobarteh put to the witness that he was not truthful to the court as he earlier on told the court that he obtained six credits instead of four in his final year exams. The witness however maintained that it was a slip of the tongue.

In response to a request to define sedition, the witness said sedition could be anything that has a potential of engendering fear or unrest, though Jobarteh wasn’t satisfied. The witness admitted that the search conducted on the accused’s bags did not conform to the NIA procedure to search women. Jobarteh further put to the witness that his client was made to write a separate statement after the first one was purportedly obtained and he replied in the positive. The case resumes May 22 for continuation.

Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, May 30, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI Contributed by PNMBAI

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