Gambia: Remand prisoners protest prolong detention

Gambia: Remand prisoners protest prolong detention

Dozens of prisoners protested their prolonged detention outside the Kanifing Magistrate Court attracting the attention of senior lawyers.

The protest started when one of the prisoners accused authorities of unjustly committing him to custody for months without any court appearance.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” they said.

An attempt by the prison officers to silence the prisoners and end the protest proved futile.

A prison officer attempted to slap one of the prisoners before he was held back by one of his fellow officers.

Most of the prisoners have been detained in the remand wing of the Mile 2 Prisons for at least nine months without appearing before a judge.

Most of the protesters are facing misdemeanor charges of theft and possession of marijuana.

Lawyers who were present during the protest pledge to take the matter to the Chief Justice, Hassan Jallow to address the backlog.

Kanifing Magistrate Court judge, Hillary Abeke scolded prosecutors for the prolonged trials threatening to dismiss such cases.

He had recently acquitted and discharged a detainee whose case has been ongoing since 2013.

Dozens of people are being held at the Mile 2 remand wing and have not appeared in court since their first appearance.

A special committee has been setup by the new government to review cases to end the backlog of cases the overwhelmed judiciary is facing.

Gambia has for long been ridiculed by rights groups for infringing on prisoners’ rights and detention without trial.

Judges often remand people while investigations into their alleged crimes are ongoing, even for bailable offenses.

Comments are closed.