Says Lawyer Lamin J Darbo
“On a visit to Kairaba Police Station about midday Saturday 10 June 2017, the details of how the arrest operation on Lawyer Bubacarr A.M.O Badjie of the NIA was conducted became clearer.
The NIA contingent, from its so-called Special Operations outfit, was led by Alhaji Ceesay, and included Ebou Sanyang, Kalilu Janneh, Kanyi, and Leon. Among the police component of the arresting team were A. Sowe, L. Jamanga, and B. Wanjang”.
NIA had no legal mandate to arrest
“In so far as both the Inspector General of Police, and the Director General of the NIA were fully aware of the composition of the arrest team, they disgraced themselves and their institutions for allowing the presence of incompetent personnel in a matter where there was no exigency to necessitate the active participation of the NIA.
As Legal Adviser, Mr Badjie is fully aware of the NIA’s lack of mandate to arrest in a matter of this nature. He pointed this to the IGP who subsequently ordered the withdrawal of the NIA contingent.
Undaunted and unfazed, Ceesay and his NIA contingent nevertheless went to Kairaba Police Station to await the arrival of the arrested Legal Adviser and his police escorts. The purpose, if it had any, was to annoy and intimidate, to effectively say we are still NIA and above the law and you can’t do a thing about our conduct, no matter how lawless.”
Lawyer Badjie Fired In Police Station
“At the Kairaba Police Station Mr Badjie was handed a letter from the Personnel Management Office interdicting him for “unethical conduct”. For now he is out of a job and out of the way”.
18 Hours and No Reason For Arrest
“In line with the practices prevalent in the former dispensation, the powers that be waited for the onset of the weekend, and rather inhumanely about an hour before the end of fasting to arrest Mr Badjie. More egregiously, as of 1:00 p.m. 10 June 2017, and a whole eighteen hours after the police dumped him at Kairaba Station, Mr Badjie had no inkling of the reason for his arrest, a conduct in clear contravention of section 19(2) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia (the Constitution) thus: any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any case within three hours, in a language he or she can understand, of the reasons for his or her arrest or detention and of his or her right to consult a legal practitioner”.
Legal Consultation At Police Station Prevented
“As if the failure to comply with the three hour deadline for notifying the reason of arrest was not bad enough, Mr Badjie was effectively prevented from consulting with his lawyer(s). A brief conversation with Mr Badjie was interrupted by Kairaba Police on the grounds that they were waiting for instructions to approve the continuation of the meeting. After waiting for some twenty minutes, I went back to the three officers sitting with Mr Badjie in another office to enquire about the state of affairs regarding the resumption of the client-lawyer conference”.
Order From Above To Arrest and Detain
“I was told this was an order from above and that I should speak to the Officer Commanding. Mr Badjie was later informed that since bail was not authorised by higher authority, he must remain in detention in the filthy cells of Kairaba Police Station until 12 June 2017. If indeed an executive directive was issued in the case of Mr Badjie, the President must urgently consider rescinding it. Mr Badjie does not deserve to sleep in dirty police cells for having the public welfare of The Gambia at the front and centre of his concerns”.
If memory serves me right, Magistrate Lamin J Darbo was himself once fired by the erstwhile Gambian Dictator Yahya Jammeh for a bench judgement in favour of Lamin Wa Juwara (then a member of the UDP current ruling party). Over they years I have interracted with Lamin J Darbo on-line and got to admire and respect his phenomenal legal mind. I wish him well in going back home from exile, and in living up to his undaunted tenacity in the defence of Gambian people’s civil and legal rights. He is a lawyer one would be grateful to have in one’s corner in a situation like this.
Notting Hill, UK.