A lawyer representing 12 Gambian soldiers accused of engaging in mutinous, defamatory, scandalous and unethical acts against the government of President Adama Barrow has told a military court martial that one of his clients was tortured by investigators
Sherrif Kumba Jobe, said Lieutenant Abdoulie Jarju was subjected to severe beating while he was detained at the feared State Intelligence Services (SIS), formerly the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
He was arrested together with Captain Yaya Biray Jammeh, Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh, Sergeant Babucarr Sanneh, Sergeant Malick Bojang, Corporal Sulayman Sanyang, Couple Lamin Gibba, Couple Ebrima Jallow, Lance Couple Sambujang Bojang, Lance Couple Aba Badjie, Private Mbemba Camara and Private Alieu Sanneh in July this year for using WhatsApp to post audio recordings critical of the government.
After their arrest, the men were held in communicado and without access to lawyers until last month when they were arraigned before a military court martial at country’s first infantry battalion in Yundum, some 27 kilometer from the capital, Banjul.
According to Lawyer Jobe, during the investigation, Lt Jarju was dragged out of his cell before investigators who wanted to take a cautionary statement. He added that his client was later blindfolded and taken to a room where he was subjected to severe beatings.
He added that after seriously torturing his client, a cautionary statement was in violation of the investigation rules obtained from him in the absence of an independent witness.
Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment is prohibited by the constitution and laws of the Gambia and despite promises by the new administration of President Adama Barrow to clean the conduct of the security forces, there were reports that security forces continue tortured, beat, and mistreated persons in custody.
In August this year, another defendant Lance Coporal Sambujang Bojang, spent 11 days in hospital where he was treated for injuries on his feet and hands.
His family said he was subjected to serious beatings while being questioned by officials of the State Intelligence Services (SIS), formerly the National Intelligence Agency ( NIA).
Also in July this year,Lamin Krubally, 34, died in police custody shortly after he was arrested for affray. Police said he died after repeatedly hitting his head against the wall and caused injuries to the head before the officers could get to him. However, his family said he tortured and left to died alone in the cell without any help. The government is yet to probe his cause of death.