(JollofNews) – The leader of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has described the charges brought against him and members of his party as “politically motivated”.
The UDP supporters including their leader, Ousainou Darboe, are currently held at Gambia’s notorious Mile Two Prisons.
They are charged with multiple criminal offences including conspiring to commit felony, unlawful assembly, riot, incitement of violence, riotously interfering with traffic, holding a procession without a license and disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Addressing the court on Thursday, Mr Darboe said: “I have been practicing law in this country for over 40 years and I know when a proceeding in a court of law is biased.”
He added: “Our arrest and continue detention trial are all politically motivated so therefore we will not partake in this trial to qualify it as a serious one.”
The UDP leader’s speech came following a dramatic twist on Wednesday after the defense lawyers walked out of the courtroom arguing that they would not take part in further proceedings if the court continues to persistently refuse their applications.
Barrister Antouman Gaye, who led a team of lawyers, told the presiding judge, Justice O Dada that they were been denied access to talk to their clients in private despite the court granting their application to access them.
The tiny West African state is being ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh who seized power in July 1994. His regime is often accused by human rights organisations of gross human rights violations including summary executions, arbitrary arrests, and continuous clamp down on the media.