The former head of the Gambia’s spy agency notorious for torturing the opponents of the former dictator, Yahya Jammeh have been abandoned by his attorneys.
Lawyers representing Yankuba Badjie have dashed the ex-powerful spy chief leaving him hanging without a counsel in the murder trial involving him and eight of his officers.
Badjie is accused of leading his men in torturing opposition activist Ebrima Solo Sandeng. Sandeng died and was secretly buried in an unmarked grave. Sandeng was arrested by Gambian authorities last year after leading a protest against Jammeh’s government.
The trial judge, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara has given Badjie’s lawyers, Barristers C. Mene and E. Chime seven business days to show up in court. The two have been absent without forwarding any reasons.
Justice Sillah-Camara advised Badjie that the state would provide him an attorney if Mene and Chime failed to appear within the deadline given.
Special Prosecutor Antouman Gaye said Mene and Chime should not be allowed to hold the court to ransom. The two lawyers reportedly appeared in other courts in cases which didn’t have conflicting times with Mr. Badjie’s.
But Badjie’s lawyers were not the only absentees. Defense counsel for the former director of operations of the spy agency, Sheikh Omar Jeng was also absent.
The case has been stalled for months. Badjie was arrested in February, barely a month after Jammeh’s ouster. The courts denied him bail and had since remanded them in a rundown prison on the outskirts of the capital, Banjul.