Saturday, February 28, 2015

Transparency and military justice in Gambia

Not a pretty picture in Gambia, where the media have raised questions about access to an ongoing court-martial. The armed forces spokesman's response: I've been out of the country:
Lt. Malick Sanyang, the PRO of Gambia Armed Forces was first asked to respond to the letter sent to the defence headquarters from Foroyaa Newspaper that precisely asked for the media to be allowed access to cover the proceedings of the court martial which should under normal circumstances be an open court based on the dictates of both the Constitution and Armed Forces Act. In response, the PRO said it is news to him that there was a letter concerning such sent to the headquarters as he had just returned from Mali few days before independence. 
"I have been to Mali and my arrival coincided with the Golden Jubilee celebration. I have been busy with the independence activities since then. Besides, we were also working towards the parade and departure of the 18th contingent of the Gambia Armed Forces who had to leave for Darfur and finally they were paraded yesterday (Monday). This office is grappling with lots of issues that need to be done and I wasn't aware of your letter here," he explained.

When he was asked how soon he could do something about it, "Well again I cannot assure you for the same reason. It has to be considered by many people before I can assure. Telling you anything here will be my opinion and the system is not working by my opinion," said Army PRO Sanyang. 
Foroyaa: "Now could you please tell me the charges preferred against the accused persons and who they are?" 
PRO: "Well, I still don't know that because I told you that I have travelled." However, he concluded that as PRO he has been a friend with the media and assured that he will continue be working with them while commending their efforts.

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