Open Letter to The Director-General of the NIA
Friday, July 06, 2012
3rd July 2012
Mr. Numo Kujabi
Director-General of the NIA
Marina Parade, Banjul, The Gambia
Dear Mr. Kujabi,
PUT AN END TO TORTURE UNDER NIA CUSTODY
I write to you as a Gambian citizen and in my capacity as Leader/Chief Servant of GMC. Once more, I would like to express my utmost indignation at the continuing evidence of torture being inflicted by agents of the NIA against suspects under custody. According to media reports on suspects’ testimonies, over 90% of NIA detainees had alleged some form of torture, and some of the worst brutalities were alleged to have taken place at ‘Bambadinka’.
Widespread use of severe torture to extract illegal confessions from suspects under custody is no longer a mere allegation. The Gambian courts have found evidence of torture perpetrated against suspects in their judgments, including severe torture by your agents against an accused person whom I personally defended as counsel in a landmark treason case (The State Vs Ebrima Barrow &Ors).
Justice A. O. Belgore - bold, courageous and just - threw out the entire tortured confessionary statements proved, leading to full acquittal. I speak with impeccable authority that a systematic practice of torture is now incontestable. Sadly, media reports on subsisting court cases continue to reveal gruesome details of alleged brutality. This is grossly unacceptable!
Mr. Director-General, torture is illegal. It is unconstitutional and immoral. It is against international law and the laws contained in the Scriptures of all organised religions. Torture constitutes a violent assault against our collective humanity. I call on you to put a stop to the torture of suspects under your custody with immediate effect. Mr. Director-General, close down Bambadinka as a torture chamber.
Gambians are decent people, and should be treated with decency. Equally, non-Gambians who are within our territory, just like how we expect our own citizens in foreign countries to be decently treated, are entitled to equal protection of the law and the world class hospitality that this country is known for. Not all agents practise torture. Nonetheless, the magnitude of this disquieting phenomenon should no longer be permitted on Gambian soil. It must stop.
The NIA is created by law. Your office is regulated by law and the mandate of the NIA is also defined by law. You and your agents are paid by Gambians to enforce and to protect the law, while your salaries are also protected by the law. Why on earth then must the NIA continue to operate outside the law? If you do not have defacto control over the NIA, I urge you to resign.
If you cannot stop torture, I call on you to resign. There is the path to honour and integrity, and the other path will lead you to the opposite direction. Which path will you choose?
Author: Mai Ahmad Fatty Chief Servant of GMC