Ex-Lawmaker for Banjul Central, Abdoulie Saine, appeared in Banjul Magistrates’ Court Monday. The high-rank member of the former ruling party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), is charged with inciting violence and seditious intention.

In front of courtroom packed with members of a civil society group fighting for peace to prevail in the country and APRC supporters, the hearing got off to a tense start for the accused person.

Police prosecutor Mballow stood up and filed an application for the charges  to be amended, which was subsequently granted by Presiding Magistrate G.W. Davies.

As Abdoulie Saine failed to turn up with his lawyer, Mballow urged the court to proceed stressing that the defence counsel did not inform the court about his absence.

“Counsel should have communicated to through the court clerk to explain his absence. Under these circumstances, we urge the court to proceed as constitutional criminal procedure will be observed,” he pointed out.

Last week, Abdoulie Saine released an audiotape on WhatsApp, describing Mandinkas as “selfish, hypocritical and not-God fearing.” The polemical audio was widely shared on social media platforms and raised serious concerns about a disturbing trend in New Gambia marked by the proliferation of hate speech on social media, posing a real threat to the peace and tranquility of the ‘Smiling Coast of West Africa’. Despite condemning the move taken by Abdoulie Saine, APRC leadership and supporters stormed the court in support of the accused person.

When the charges sheet was read to him, Saine pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution filed another application to have the case adjourned, stating that the case file was sent to Attorney General Chambers. Mballow then added they are yet to get a feedback from them.

Ruling in favour of the prosecution, Magistrate Davies adjourned the case till September 20, 2018 for continuation.

She also ordered Abdoulie Saine, his family and relatives to ‘restrain’ from making remarks that could be prejudicial to the ongoing case.

As tension was going crescendo, paramilitary forces deployed around the court were able to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

Written by Abdoulie JOHN

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