A magistrate court in Bundung has acquitted and discharged a Gambian young man, who was charged with obstruction of traffic and threatening violence by Gambia’s anti-crime unit police, Freedom Newspaper can report. Ebrima Joof, a 36-year-old hotel receptionist, was freed by magistrate Isatou Jammeh after the court had found that the police’s allegations against him were not only false, but totally unfounded. The court had ruled that the charges that were proffered against Joof amounts to an abuse of power on the side of the anti-crime unit headed by Commissioner Gorgi Mboob.
Joof was escorting his circumcised kid from the Beach side to his home in Bijilo, back in July of 2018, when he came under the attack of an anti-crime unit officer Musa Corr. The circumcised Bijilo babies narrowly escaped death after officer Corr, had sprayed them with a pepper spray—leaving the babies to be unconscious (passed out).
The incident happened around the “Kawsumai” junction, where the babies—age 2, and 5, at the time, came under attack during an unprovoked altercation between Corr and the babies parents. Corr had accused them of obstructing the traffic.
Ebrima Joof, the father of one of the sprayed kids, filed a criminal complaint at the Brusibi police station against the anti-crime unit officer.
Joof and the two assaulted babies were referred to the Sukuta Health Center after filing the criminal complaint against the accused officer. The babies were treated and discharged.
Joof being the complainant against the police, later turned as an accused person. Both him and his son, together with the eleven-year-old “Kakurang” were allegedly assaulted by the ACU officer.
While under police custody, Joof was also confronted by the police for exposing his assault story, which was published by the Freedom Newspaper. He was briefly detained and released on bail.
The anti-crime unit has been accused of torture of detainees and in some occasions false imprisonment. Many Gambian youngsters held by the unit have complained about police brutality, excesses, and torture.
When his criminal case came up in court, Joof hired a leading Gambian Attorney Antouman Gaye as his lawyer. He has from the onset denied the obstruction and threatening violence charges. He maintained that the police were out to falsely accuse him.
The two years criminal trial came to an end on Monday.
After examining the facts and evidence adduced before the court, magistrate Isatou Jammeh, has ruled that the prosecution couldn’t proof its case beyond all reasonable doubts. She also ruled that the police had operated outside the dictates of the law; hence she has decided to acquit and discharge the accused person Ebrima Joof.
The prosecution was represented by officer Louis Gomez.
Reacting to the court’s verdict, Ebrima Joof, remarked in the local Wollof dialect by saying: “I am exceedingly happy. Justice finally been served. I was a victim of police malicious prosecution. I haven’t done anything wrong that should warrant my arrest and prosecution. It was a frivolous case. It was Gorgi Mboob, who orchestrated my arrest and charges. He wasn’t happy that my case had been reported by the Freedom Newspaper. He told me in the presence of witnesses that he got the backing of President Adama Barrow and no one can do anything to him. He also said no one can remove him from his post, and as such, he was going to ensure that I am taken to court. I was detained at the mile two prison for five days before I was released and taken to court. I was also detained at the anti-crime unit offices in Bijilo. Thank God that the court has vindicated me. I am a free man now.”
Joof hasn’t been paid any reparations or damages for the trauma that he had suffered in the hands of the ACU officers. He intends to file a complaint with Gambia’s Human Rights Commission to see if the state would compensate him for the time and resources, he had spent in his two years long legal wrangling.
“I am going to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. My rights have been abused by the anti-crime unit. I am going to hand get the judgment from the court, which I intend to share with the Commission and the Freedom Newspaper. Gone are the days when the police can operate outside the dictates the law. The court was clear in its ruling. It says the ACU’s conduct amounts to abuse of power. It was also ruled that their case wasn’t premised on the truth. I was not physically tortured when I was detained at the anti-crime unit, but the officer Musa Corr, who attacked us while we were on the road on the day of the incident, had sprayed us with a pepper spray. The two circumcised kids I was escorting suffered from that attack. I also suffered from that pepper spray, including the Kankurang. Musa Corr was not only abusive towards us, he also threatened us. Even the court had commented on his hostile and belligerent behavior,” Joof said.
Joof said he has witnessed Gorgi Mboob beating detainees while he was detained at the anti-crime unit. He describes Mboob as an aggressive, arrogant, and heartless officer.
“Gorgi Mboob should be removed from the police. He has no respect for human rights. People shouldn’t be deceived by his media appearances and rants. He behaves like a King at the anti-crime unit. I have seen him slapping and kicking detainees. He told me that he has the backing of the President and no one can remove him, not even a Minister. He had complained about a publication made by the Freedom Newspaper, in which he was accused of stealing the cement former President Yahya Jammeh, had left behind at the State House. He told me that while Freedom was reporting on my case, the paper had also accused him of stealing Jammeh’s cement. For the past two years, I have been walking in and out of court. Gorgi has used his position to prosecute me maliciously,” he added.
“I want to thank my lawyer Antouman Gaye and his daughter for standing by me throughout this trial. They have adequately represented me in court. Thanks to their outstanding defense, I am today a free man. I appreciate their representation. My legal bill wasn’t expensive. They were very kind with me,” he added.
Gorgi Mboob was recently sent on administrative leave. This followed allegations that he had allegedly tortured one detainee called Ebrima Sanneh. The torture allegations against Mboob is currently being investigated.
Mboob has also been accused of allegedly extorting D14 million dalasis from one Lamin Kinteh. He has denied the allegations.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Email: [email protected]