“The invincibility of our cause and the certainty of our final victory are the impenetrable armor of those who consistently uphold their faith in freedom and justice in spite of political persecution” (Nelson Mandela. Culled from the web https://www.nelsonmandela.org/news/entry/i-am-prepared-to-die on 2/15/2015).
Part 4 of the series will focus on Alhagie Saidy Barrow. Perhaps Mandela’s legacy never fails to represent. What crime has Barrow committed? What will be considered true justice for him? What is his personality? What evidence does the U.S Government have against Barrow? These questions no doubt poke each and every one of us. This author is the least qualified to answer these questions, so let us utilize the little known to us, the observations on court proceedings and predict the likely outcome. The ultimate outcome comes back to the intent by the U.S Government to prosecute and the evidence (not mere allegations) that they have against the accused.
One thing that responsible Governments and citizens must avoid is to try any of accused in peoples’ opinion, or trying to incriminate any of them without clear evidence. That would tantamount to criminal offense and a gross misrepresentation of the ideals for which justice and fair play dictate. In the commonality of the law, an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of law. It must be clearly noted that the burden of proof is on the U.S Government to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the charges they brought against Barrow and his co-accused are factual. In this case, the accuser must establish clear and convincing evidence. The Gambian tyrannical administration cannot be trusted in this matter, and any of what they are submitting or announcing on the controlled home media and beyond must be checked for accuracy, because this administration have a track record for habitual lying, crime, and gross injustices. The Jammeh administration hasn’t been honest even with the little matters, and as such, no one would expect their honesty and true cooperation in the bigger matters. Besides, the APRC administration is as guilty as guilty itself. It is their continued infliction of pain and suffering on citizens that provoked such undertakings, and predictably, it will not be the last of its kind, and the news sits on the wings of the passing wind.
With the alleged financier and mastermind, Cherno Njie, pleading not guilty to the same charges as Barrow last week in a Minnesota Federal Court, it is easy to see that the United States Government have a lot of work to do to convince a Federal Judge that indeed the charges are true. A potential witness could have been Papa Faal who already pleaded guilty in the process of negotiating for his freedom and in cooperating with Federal investigations. That is not a deal on the table for Papa that he must testify against his alleged conspirators. It is known fact that some of the freedom fighters died in the battlefield, and their true story remains buried, and unlikely to be known no matter how much they shared or confided with any other person.
Oh well, a personality like Barrow is so dear and admirable. His humility speaks for him. His spirit is very uplifting. He is a representation of hope, a hero whose heart trembles at every injustice. He is a freedom fighter, one that represented the United States when he served honorably in the U.S military, and more than likely, those values he learnt, instilled in him a sense of urgency, a spirit to see a nation like the Gambia freed from the clutches of tyranny. Barrow is also a penguin who walks the talk and when the night dawns on oppressed citizens, Barrow is willing to sacrifice all his achievements for a rescue operation. Such is really heavy on the scale of justice and even common law. He is also a family man and breadwinner. Besides, Barrow willingly availed himself, even after knowing that from media reports that he was wanted in connection with the failed December 30th operation in the Gambia.
It must be clearly noted that concerned Gambians are not in dispute of the existence of the U.S Neutrality ACT, as announced earlier on the year when U.S Attorney General Eric Holder said, “These defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of U.S. law,” and Holder added, “The United States strongly condemns such conspiracies. With these serious charges, the United States is committed to holding them fully responsible for their actions” (Culled from the web http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/two-defendants-charged-for-their-roles-in-an-attempted-coup-in-the-gambia on 2/15/2015). What concerns Gambians further since the U.S has offered to prosecute some in the alleged overthrow on December 30th, is for the U.S through its known mightiness and celebrated judicial system to also address the other party (The Gambian Government) in their deficiencies, neglect of international law, and continued engagement in human rights abuses against its citizens. It is the author’s firm belief that these charges cannot be properly tried with weighing on what might have provoked such an action, and as such, if such is not factored in, it robs the opportunity for proper justice dispensation.
What must be taken clearly into consideration is the motive for the operation and what provoked such thoughts. Justice in the case of these defendants must include weighing in using intent and what provoked the alleged conspiracy. What the U.S did first was just the first step. What she can do to add to it, is to consider waiving the U.S Neutrality law in lieu of the criminal nature of the Gambian Government. The U.S can also completely review, amend and repeal the said law.
Barrow hasn’t taken a guilty plea yet and his alleged contribution to the December 30th operation remains just mere allegations. Like recently argued by Njie’s lawyer in Federal Court that all the U.S Government has against Njie were “mere allegations” and not “evidence.” The same can be extended to Barrow, and it is very likely that Barrow will also plead not guilty. That will put more burdens of proof on the U.S government. If that happens, a federal judge can trash these cases out as “bullshit” cases on the basis of lacking convincing evidence. Papa’s testimony stated clearly that most of those that participated were known to one another by code names. Again, it is on the U.S Government to proof beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. X was using John Doe codename.
In the end, I predict that Barrow will also plead not guilty to the charges. The U.S Government at that point can be forced to negotiate, as he who alleges must prove beyond reasonable doubt. If the document they have which seems to be the main argument is rendered not credible, and no witnesses, then these cases might not go far. With good lawyers, we all know, it is easy to flip the coin in a country like the United States.
It is also a possibility with Civil Rights groups all over petitioning their U.S Representatives and the United States Government, such can earn sympathy, where it such laws can be waived. Waiving an unfavorable law is certainly part of justice. Justice of course includes having laws that are truly representing to the Government and the governed. If a law doesn’t have these two elements, then such a law is not representing. In dictatorship Governments, minor surgeries should be allowed in an effort establish a Government that will represent citizens, the very noble undertaking that the founding fathers of the United States took to liberate the United States. It is also possible for the Federal Courts to temper justice with mercy, be that all those charged are first time offenders with no prior criminal record, added to being responsible family men with good moral character.
Said and done, Barrow was found legible for bail. He has been Okayed to work. He will be expected to attend court sessions and subject himself to availability as needed by the courts with restrict on travel outside the United States and internet. That is commendable.
Part 5 is coming to you soon…it is also the intended conclusion piece on the series, though the author will consider extending the column at readers’ request. Thank you for sharing with your readers and fans.