UPDATE: Gambia: Lack of Fula translator delays GAMCOTRAP case hearing

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No more witnesses have testified since the testimony of the director of Yolocamba Solidaridad on the allegation of theft case against GAMCOTRAP officials Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho.  Appearing before Principal Magistrate Alagde at the Banjul Magistrate court on Monday, 28 March 2011, Prosecution Officer Superintendent Sainey Joof announced the presence of only one witness instead of four as announced at the previous seating. Prosecution witness Mariama Sumura, one of the celebrated Ex-Circumcisers trained by GAMCOTRAP, was called to the stand. The court was brought to a standstill when it was realized that the witness could only speak Fula. Joof said he met the witness that morning and realized she could only speak Fula. Magistrate Alagde asked for volunteers from the court room to translate but none was forthcoming. Update to Gambia: Witnesses did not appear in GAMCOTRAP Case hearing

In responding to what can be done, Defense Counsel Amie Bensouda, supported by Lawyers Lamin Mboge and Ebrima Jah, told the Court that the defense is at the mercy of the court and the prosecution. She added “I think the Prosecution should have known and arranged for a translator. My lord, the Prosecution should close its case because according to the witness’s statement that we received, it is not different from what the other women said. We should stop wasting each other’s time.” She further reminded the Magistrate that six other women have been brought in as witnesses and the information is not different. The prosecution was asked to call in one of the other three witnesses to save time while arrangements were made to get a Fula translator. The prosecution said Samura was the only witness available and had come all the way from Basse, and he appealed for efforts to be made to allow her to testify.

Magistrate Alagde adjourned the hearing until later in the afternoon at 14:00. 

The confused-looking witness called on Amie Bojang-Sissoho to find out what happened because people were dispersing and nobody gave her any explanation. She was informed about the adjournment. 

Upon returning for the hearing in the afternoon, one of the defense counsel team members, Lamin Mboge of Maribantang Chambers, informed the accused that the Magistrate had asked the court clerk to inform the court that the case had been adjourned because there was no Fula translator. The next hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, 20 April 2011, at 10:00 am.