I am Charged, Bailed and Released and to Report Tomorrow at 10am.
This afternoon I reported to the Kairaba Police Station after they ‘invited’ me that they wanted to ask me a few questions about an interview I gave on Saturday. When I arrived I went to the office of the Deputy Commissioner Pateh Bah. He said the reason for the invitation was to ask me to shed light on my comments that the Government did not do enough to ensure justice for the late Haruna Jatta, Ousman Darboe and Kebba Secka. He thought that was unfair to the police because I did not know what was going on in the background.
I then asked him if he was really serious to call me to his office only to question my opinion. He said yes. I told him this is my opinion and if the Government disagrees they can refute it publicly. But I asked him to tell me which court or which suspect is standing trial for the murder of Haruna Jatta and Ousman Darboe? I asked him it is one year now since Kebba Secka was killed yet until now the case is not concluded. Why?
I told him that I consider this invitation as an assault on my fundamental constitutional right to freedom of expression and to hold the State accountable. I told him that by calling me to his office and questioning my opinion indicates that he is abusing his powers intended to criminalize my opinion and to intimate and harass me. I told him I am not that citizen to be intimidated.
Then I told him if he has no more to say then I am leaving because I have business to run. So I got up to leave his office. Immediately he asked his officers to stop me from leaving. One officer stood between me and the door. I asked him if I was under arrest and he said no. Then I asked if not then why am I prevented to leave? He said I should sit down. I said no, as I now consider my presence in his office as kidnapping for which I was tricked by them in the first place that I was only invited to shed light on few questions. Now that I did that why am I prevented from leaving his office.
Then he said I should write a statement. I was shocked at that and asked him why should I write a statement when I am not under arrest or a suspect. He insisted that I have to write a statement otherwise I will not leave. He said if I write a statement then I can leave.
After some advice from friends and lawyers present, I agreed to write a state so I can leave. So I wrote a terse statement that I was forced to write that statement under duress but I do wish to make any comments.
To my amazement, as soon as I finished writing that statement, an officer pulled out a charge sheet and asked me to sign it by indicating whether I agree with the charges or deny them. They said they are charging me for ‘false publication and broadcasting’. Of course I deny the charges with all of the flesh and muscles and blood and water in my body. They said I should report tomorrow Wednesday morning at 10am.
Let me first of all express my heartfelt appreciation to the massive show of solidarity from fellow citizens of conscience – Uncle Lawyer Antouman Gaye and lawyers Salieu Taal and Abdoulie Fatty and my younger brother Junkung Jobarteh and TANGO Chair John Njie. I wish to also thank GPU leaders Sheriff Bojang Jnr., Mustapha Darboe and Saikou Jammeh. Special thanks to my representatives Hon. Touma Njai and Hon. Sanna Jawara and several activists Fatou Jagne and friends Sainabou, Sajar and National Human Rights Commissioner Njundu Drammeh. Uncountable number of people called me from home and abroad to show solidarity. Gaye Sowe, Banka, Coach Pa Samba, Benny, Ebou Wally, Dr. Ceesay, Alh. Nyang, Baboucarr and Jainaba Faye.
Fellow citizens, rest assured Madi Jobarteh is not scathed one bit. This is not about me but about the very sovereignty of each and every citizen. It is about our voice and power to tame the Government so that it acts according to our Constitution and in our best interest as citizens.
What has happened today is the same Yaya Jammeh tactics being played out purposely to silence citizens in order to grow and germinate dictatorship in this country once again. Never Again. This is why they trick people into an ‘invitation’ only to turn it into a kidnapping and a bogus charge. Remember Dr. Ismaila Ceesay.
I am determined to fight this matter on all platforms at home and abroad to ensure that those responsible for such abuse of power and violation of the Constitution and an infringement on my personal liberty pay dearly.
For The Gambia Our Homeland