By: Hadram Hydara
Momodou Sabally’s legal representative, Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty, has condemned and expressed dismay over the High Court’s decision to grant the Attorney General’s Chambers “ex-parte” application requesting to prolong the detention of his client beyond the constitutionally mandated 72 hours, pledging to challenge the decision and “seek legal remedy” in court.
Mr Sabally was arrested on Wednesday over a video in which he could be seen seemingly suggesting that President Barrow will be unseated before the local government election. This comes following Tuesday’s alleged foiled coup plot by some members of the Gambia Armed Forces.
“I learn with utter shock, concern and disappointment that the Attorney General’s Chambers today filed an ex-parte application seeking the detention of Mr. Sabally beyond the mandatory 72 hours expressively prescribed by the Constitution of The Gambia 1997,” said Barrister Fatty.
Fatty argued that despite his client being in detention since Wednesday, the police do not seem to have any evidence whatsoever to justify requesting a court order to prolong his detention, noting that he has only been interrogated just once since his arrest.
“Shortly after Mr. Sabally’s arrest on Wednesday, he was interrogated by the police serious crime/major crime unit in which he cooperated and even wrote a statement.
“That was the last time he was questioned by the police even though he continues to be under their custody. He was neither questioned yesterday nor today. This begs the question, what is the purpose and rationale for keeping Sabally in detention when the police do not seem to have any further questions for him?
“It is my opinion that if the police had a substantive and compelling case against Mr. Sabally, they would have either charged him or continued to interrogate him. He is not charged with any offence. Therefore, what is so profoundly exceptional and cogent to justify seeking a court order for his continuous detention?”
Sabally’s counsel further said the application filed at the High Court seeking to extend his client’s detention is nothing but a mere tactic to limit his freedom and a “deliberate” and “well-calculated” move to circumvent the mandatory provision of the Constitution.
“Mr. Sabally’s arrest and unreasonably prolonged detention are abhorrent. Today’s application is purposely designed to restrict his civil liberties and bypass a compulsory constitutional provision. It is my opinion that this is a deliberate and well-calculated exercise, and it is an abuse of the law and the court process to achieve objectives that are not consistent with the letter and spirit of the constitution,” adding that there is “no legal and or justifiable basis for his continuous detention”.
Mr Fatty promised to seek redress for his client in court: “In terms of today’s decision to legalise Mr. Sabally’s detention beyond 72 hours, I will challenge this decision and seek appropriate legal remedy in a court of competent jurisdiction”.