Gambian magistrate to acquit all people detained without charge for 72 hours

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ayoub John Njie, a magistrate in Brikima, Gambia, has said that he will acquit all people detained for 72 hours without charge, due to the fact that he believes detention for more than three days is unconstitutional.

Section 19 (1) of the Gambian constitution says that "no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his or her liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as established by law." Njie stated that he believes that detention for over 72 hours is depriving someone of their liberty without sending the person through the "procedures as established by law."

Njie, who works at Brikama Magistrates Court, said that "I stand for justice and I also stand to assist the government for justice to prevail.

The incident started when Dida Halake, former managing director of the Daily Observer was acquitted on these grounds, and these statement by the judge were made in the case of Amadou Kah, who is accused of stealing goats.

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