UDP Criticised Over Amadou Sanneh’s Case

amadou sannehBy Sam Phatey

It has been 5 months since Mr. Amadou Sanneh, UDP Treasurer has been sentenced in December to 5 years in prison after being indicted in October 2013 by the Government of the Gambia, who had a mercenary judge, Justice Emmanuel Nkea to carry out the mission to put Mr. Sanneh in Mile 2 Central Prison.

I come out today, to show my support and solidarity to Mr. Sanneh and to his family and to tell them that they are not forgotten by the people of the Gambia especially the young people. We cherish and value Mr. Amadou Sanneh’s selfless, immense and tireless efforts and fight for a truly free and liberated Gambia.

On this backdrop, I stand with others to condemn the lack of open action by the UDP leadership to take not only defiant but the needed actions and approach to assert the needed pressure on the Gambia Government and for the authorities in Banjul to know that they (the UDP) mean business to secure the release of Amadou Sanneh and his co-defendants.

I implore the UDP leadership to use its resources and galvanize a collective effort that will not only secure the release of Amadou Sanneh and Co but set an example that will be used as a clear map or blueprint to untie the Gambia from the ropes and bondage of “sembocracy,” dictatorship, injustice and economic mishaps to the sunshine of freedom, justice and liberty for all.

The Gambia, just like North Korea is an open prison and every citizen deserves refugee and protection in any country they find themself in but it does not mean that opposition leaders in the Gambia should sit back instead of engaging the government in all ways possible even if it means they will end up in prison.

The Gambian opposition, especially the UDP, as the largest opposition party, in this case, should be ready to set a precedent and defy odds especially on issues that are justified. The UDP leadership must know that the task of leadership is not a smooth road but one which requires a leader to sacrifice his or her all for his or her people and be ready to die for their freedom and liberty.

If the UDP leadership is not ready to fight for Amadou Sanneh’s release openly, then I wonder if they will show solidarity by becoming his cellmate to condition the Jammeh administration to either release Sanneh and Co or imprison the whole party leadership. The UDP leadership must be ready to sacrifice the life they have planned so that all its party supporters will have the life they are waiting for, which includes Amadou Sanneh’s children and family, who will love to sit in their living and family room with their father, husband, brother, cousin and uncle.

True heroism is remarkably sober, very arduous. It is not the courage to surpass others at whatever cost, but the courage to serve others at whatever the cost.

Thank you and God Bless Amadou Sanneh, Malang Fatty, Sambou Fatty, and the Gambia – our homeland!



  1. I have expressed my support for Amadou Sanneh and Co. at the time of their imprisonment,because I believe the law that sent them to prison has no place in a modern, democratic society…

    However, in as much as I condemn the imprisonment of Amadou Sanneh and Co, it must be stated that at the time that they produced Attestation Documents for a would be asylum seeker,a defamation law passed by our Parliament, existed in the country…

    Moreover, whether we view the courts as impartial or not, there was no doubt that Mr Sanneh and Co did produce an Attestation Document, which stated as facts, things that were found to be false and deemed defamatory to the country…Their treatment was disgraceful and only shows the wickedness and evil in Yaya Jammeh because that need not have happened…But the facts of the case are indisputable…

    I will, therefore,question the democratic credentials and readiness to adhere to the law, of anyone who calls on the UDP to use any means, other than legal, to free Mr Sanneh and Co…They broke the law, were found guilty and sentenced accordingly…Of course, the courts have the power to tempt justice with mercy but preferred not to, in this case…

    Where I find the UDP culpable is the fact that they allowed the practice of issuing Attestation Documents for asylum seekers to continue,after the defamation law was passed…They should not have put themselves in such a position….

    I think lessons have been learnt and I hope Mr Sanneh will remain steadfast and come out even stronger,in his beliefs to fight for a better Gambia..This is the price that some will pay for putting the dictatorship under the spot light…

  2. Indeed Bax, the top Black Barrister in UK, also a judge, was yesterday jailed for 18 months – ABSOLUTELY CORRECTLY. Judge Briscoe flaunted the law that she was sworn to uphold – and paid the price … she will almost certainly be banned for life from being a lawyer. But in The Gambia there is this view that lawyers are above the law – correct me if I am wrong.

  3. Sure you two, BAX and DIDA, must have some ulterior motive in always trying to cast doubt in peoples mind when gross injustice is perpetrated against Gambians. Just look at what you are trying to rationalise.
    Can`t you see that Amadou was tortured to near death to make a public confession on TV. That alone should have made the case un-triable in any Gambian court. And you have the effrontery to compare this with the case of Judge Brisco. . Imagine the BBC putting Brisco in front of public TV to do what Amadou was forced to do. You guys have to come clean.

  4. My in law…

    When Fatou Camara, former press sec was asked by Pa Nderry to describe Yaya Jammeh, she did so interestingly..

    She said…. “Jammeh is your average Gambian”…How true that description is..Jammeh is the reflection of the average Gambian…

    When in authority, not just the individual, but his/her family, friends and associates, feel and act as if they are above the law…

    And many do get away with it…It’s a Gambian problem that must be addressed..

  5. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Well, well, wonders never end. Sam phatty’s father, Babung, betrayed the UDP and left the party for the APRC and here comes Sam bashing UDP some people from his father’s village are arrested.

    The arrest of Amadou and co is an unfortunate misuse of the criminal justice system. All he wrote in the attestation are true exception the fact that the boy was not arrested by the police. Amadou was misled on this point and did not intentionally and deliberately misrepresent the facts and therefore , not criminally culpable. Criminal libel punishes an intention to deframe and the threshold is always high.

    Writing an attestation is not a crime especially when the addressee lives outside the jurisdiction.

    • Please get your facts right before writing. Babung Phatey was never part of the APRC party. He was UDP and campaigned for UDP in almost all elections. At his funeral, Lawyer Darbo and other UDP members were all there. If his son decides to criticize UDP then that is his problem. It has nothing to do with his father. When it comes to politics let us take families out. Sam’s other siblings will never speak out against UDP he is the only one who has a big mouth. Next time get your facts right.

  6. Can’t fight Evil with Evil:- The “attestation” was false; just as the headline “HALAKE IN A COMMA!” was false; just as the headline “Imam BA KAWSU IS DEAD” was false; just as the headline “BALLA IS DEAD” was false.

  7. And just as “IMAM BABA LEIGH IS DEAD” was false.

  8. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Continued from above

    Defamation should be about lowering the image/character of a person in the eyes of the public with malicious intent. To say that somebody is arrested by the police is not capable of doing that , and in this case there was no intent to misrepresent facts let alone a malicious intention. The attestation not even put in the public domain meaning the public did not even have knowledge of it until the NIA published it themselves.

    Sedition law in The Gambia is a serious affront to freedom of speech and not necessary in a democratic society. It is therefore unconstitutional even by gambian standard.

    It is Sam Phatty’s relatives who put Amadou into trouble. Thus, instead of bashing the UDP, he should be bold enough to ask his relatives in Bantanto and else where to do exactly what he is asking of the UDP.

    Darboe’s of Bansang supported Sam’s father in his bid to become a member of parliament and he won. But what did he do to the Darboe in return?? He did not only abandoned the party a member of their family heads, he also sided with his political opponents to deny him the presidency.


  9. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Halake, it was not entirely false. It is just that bit which said the boy was arrested, and Amadou was misled on this point, meaning there was no malicious intention to warrant prosecution. Also, it was not placed into the public domain, meaning there was no harm to reputation in the eyes of the public.

  10. What the heck are you on about, Lafia..? What does the conduct of the writer’s parents have to do with his (writer’s) views on political events in the country..?

    So you think political representation is an “osusu club”…The Fatty’s (of whatever village they come from) have no choice but to support the Darboes of Dobong because the Darboes supported a Fatty to win a seat…! What kind of reasoning is this..?

    The case involving Mr Amadou Sanneh is indeed unfortunate, politically motivated and sentencing him to an imprisonment term is utterly unnecessary and serves no meaningful purpose..

    But let’s not pretend that the Attestation Document they issued, did not give the regime the perfect opportunity to punish them…Under the defamation law,issuing such a document would constitute the crime of “tarnishing the country’s image”, whether it was in the Public domain or not..

    Immigration Officials are not stupid…Such documents must contain information that suggests that the individual’s life is in danger if they were to go back to their country of origin..

    That was definitely true in this case, so the information was false…It is not just the arrest bit that was untrue..The whole document, except being a.member of the UDP, may be false…

    Let’s hope that lessons have been learnt and we will not see APRC opponents falling prey to what was obviously a sting operation by the NIA, to entrap them…

    Recent revelations suggest that they have tried the same tactics with Foroyaa/PDOIS but failed miserably and resorted to threatening the journalist concerned, who had to flee for his safety…

  11. Oops…meant to write….”that was definitely NOT true in this case…”

  12. It is politics Lafia. The APRC Regime has its back against the wall in terms of its international image (most of it I agree being the Regime’s own doing e.g. the Mile 2 killings). So there is paranoia and overreaction to “attestations” made to Western governments. Look at the fate of Jammeh’s favourite reporter, DO’s Deputy Editor, Alaggie Jobe – in Mile two for 18 months even before being found guilty. Apparently there is “strong evidence” against Jobe of agreement to support such “attestation” by publishing in the DO a story confirming the “attestation”.

    You can’t send a formal document, which is what an “attestation” is, to the Government of the UK (through UKBA) stating that the Government of The Gambia (through police) has “arrested” somebody for political purposes – if that is not true.

    But we agree on one thing Lafia:- I too pray that both Sanneh and Jobe be pardoned and be allowed back home to their loved ones. THE UDP & THE BANJUL ELDERS SHOULD GO TO THE PRESIDENT AND ASK FOR A PARDON. I BELIEVE A GENUINE REQUEST WOULD BE GRANTED.

  13. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Bax, you probably need to know what defamation means before you speak. A defamation statement has to a false statement uttered/written with malicious intent and causes or like to cause to reputation in the public eye. Like I said above, the content of amadou’s attestation is largely true saved for where it said the boy was arrested (the boy was threatened) and he was misled on this point. Thus, no malicious intention.

    Secondly, Amadou and his co accused did not even put this document in the public domain; meaning the public was not even aware it existed and it cannot amount to damaging reputation or image in the eyes of that same public . The addressee does not even live within the jurisdiction of the court.

    Finally, writing an attestation is normal in a democracy and it is not a crime.

    I won’t respond to your other points.


  14. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Halake, if you genuinely believe it to be true and it turn out to be false. There is no problem with that, and that is what exactly happened here. All the other elements of the attestation are factually correct, and that in itself supports the point that there was no malicious intent on the part of Amadou. Also, the government cannot claim damage to reputation in the eyes of the public because this document was not placed in the public domain.

    Amadou was not charged with giving false information to a public officer because he hasn’t committed that offence either.


  15. Lafia, I agree with you that under normal circumstances what Mr. Sanneh was found guilty of is a minor offence. But circumstances are not normal and I refer you back to the political climate as described above. He is also a very senior opposition leader – which is quite dangerous in itself all over Africa. I think the better course now is for the UDP Leader to seek a Presidential Clemency for Mr. Sanneh – rather than quibble over legalities. Mr. Sanneh is a frail old man, like myself, and I am sure 5 years in Mile 2 will kill him. I pray he gets freed soon.

  16. Lafia Touray la Manju

    God forbid Halake.

  17. Quote…”Halake, if you genuinely believe it to be true and it turn out to be false. There is no problem with that, and that is what exactly happened here…”

    When did “ignorance” become an excuse before the law..?

    What “public” is being referred to here.? Was that document destined to a bank vault, not to be seen by anyone..?

    You need to be serious…

  18. I am gentler that you PDOIS revolutionaries Bax (HA HA HA) – that is why the APRC disowned me!

  19. Wake Gambia! Jammeh is using Gambians as a set up and then turn around to jail them. In case of Amadou Sanneh, they claimed to find attestation during a routine police stop. Give me a break! Police at most should only ask for your ID, but not personal possessions without reasonable suspicion to the point of opening a book to find an attestation letter. How did they know that if it was not an inside job?

    It was the same set up Alagie Jobe found himself entangled in.

    I have strong reservations for UDP leadership in heading the affairs of its members.

  20. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Bax, you need to go back to school and learn. The saying is;” ignorance of the law is not an excuse”. Amadou was not misled on the law but the facts. There is nothing like ” ignorance of the facts is not an excuse”.

    This is what I hate you PDOIS talibehs. You are a bunch of bonkers.


  21. Lafia…

    I agree to go back to school, but not the one you went to or would recommend because it’s got your head mixed up completely….

    I know that the saying is,…”Ignorance of the law is no excuse…”

    I wasn’t referring to that saying…I am stating a fact of life…

    That ignorance, whether “of the law or facts” is NOT an excuse before any law or court of law…

    You will still be held accountable if you were to act on information, which you thought was correct, but which turned out to be incorrect…And if that is related to a case before a court of law, then it is going to be a problem…Contrary to your claim that this will not be a problem…You will not get away by feigning “ignorance”..

    If you believe that you would get away with this, then you have not been listening to your professor/teacher at law school..

  22. Absolutely ebrima c..This was a set-up and the UDP fell for it…The NIA knew all along that the UDP was engaged in this practice of issuing Attestation Documents for asylum seekers…Even some APRC supporters may have benefited from this and regularised their statuses in Europe…

    It could even be true that the amendments to information laws,under Minister Grey-Johnson, was specifically to get those involved and to entrap others…

    Foroyaa/PDOIS (through their reporter, Fabakary Ceesay) was also targeted but the reporter outsmarted them and had to flee when they planned to silence him…

    Being very clever, almost with an agent like precision, he went to the rendezvous place much earlier than planned and took a concealed position to survey the scene…He was right to do so because his contact turned up in the company of an individual he knows was an NIA Agent…And the rest is history..

  23. Lafia Touray la Manju

    I went one of the best in The Gambia. Just think about the elite High schools in the 1980s and 1990s. It is one of them.

    You know nothing. So inept that you need to shut up

  24. Lafia Touray la Manju

    I went to one of the best schools in The Gambia. Just think about the elite High schools in the 1980s and 1990s. It is one of them.

    You know nothing. So inept that you need to shut up

  25. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Also Halake, the evidence used against Amadou are not admissible because they are obtained through toture. His lawyers brought this up but the court refused to inspect the toture marks on the prosecution witness’s body.

  26. Oho…calm down Lafia…Don’t get too hot under the collar…

    You know the Mandinka adage..”Tonya Mu Kaano Leti”.. (truth is like pepper)…It hurts/burns…Could that be the case here…? I wonder and ponder…

    Want to shut me up..? Easy…Just stop talking rubbish…Have a nice day..

  27. Gentlemen, let us keep our eyes on the ball. Whatever happened, Amadou Sanneh needs to be freed NOW. I am appealing to President Jammeh to do just that.

  28. Sam Phatey is 100% right. UDP leadership and their top aides in the social media are thin skin and very insensitive to genuine criticism. I find it difficult to understand the UDP criticizing the biased judicial system in the Gambia which all genuine people agree with and then continue to rely only on that system and process to address all the attacks on their party members.Its like the UDP is an enabler for the judicial system. As the majority party, its leadership should have challenged the Jammeh regime just like how Halifa Sallah did when PDOIS top executives were arrested. He put his own life on the table and offered to join his comrades in prison. It paid off and his comrades were freed. There is nothing in the public dormain that shows Darboe as majority party leader has regular contacts with Governments in the sub region to sensitize them on the human rights violations and other injustices happening in the Gambia.Opposition leadership goes with responsibility and risks and there is no way change can come through cheap talk and by showing your defense through the strength of your writing ability in the social media. All opposition leaders in the sub region like Abdoulaye Wade came to power by putting their lives on the table and tasting the food in prisons on several occasions. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.