Thursday, July 28, 2011

Abdoulie Sonko Sentenced to Death

abdoulie Sonko

After eight years of legal battle, Abdoulie Sonko, believed to the leader of the 1996 Farrafenni  military camp attackers was yesterday, convicted and sentenced to death by Justice  Emmanuel Admadi of the High Court in Banjul.
Sonko was arrested in 2003 at his home village of Berending in Nuimi, North Bank Region, following which he was put under trial for trying to overthrow Jammeh’s government.  
The atmosphere which greeted his conviction and sentencing was both chaotic and somber.  The convict was uptight and in tears, yet he unsuccessfully managed to calm down a teary crowd of relatives and sympathisers.   

“They will have to decide when to execute the death sentence. The judge said the chief justice have to decide,” Sonko told his family members in tears.
 “I have faith and I want you to stop crying.”
Mr Sonko was charged with   six counts of murder and three counts of treason for the 1996  coup attempt, which led to the killing of Corporal Saihou Sidibeh, Corporal Essa Keita, Staff Sergeant Lamin Badjie and Private Ebrima Bojang.
He was  alleged to have committed this acts  alongside five others; Ballo Kanteh (alias Fabakary Kanteh), Omar Dampha (Alias Joof John), Sulayman Sarr, Essa Baldeh and Yahya Drammeh, who were all convicted in 1997.
Sonko, throughout the trial maintained his innocence, saying that he was in Liberia during the attacked.
During the trial, six state witnesses testified including Ballow Kanteh who was convicted for the same offence in 1997 with four others, maintained that he does not know the convict.  
However, the defense counsel for Sonko in his brief argued that the state has no evidence against his client, noting that the state has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts.  
 “The prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts and I hereby found the accused person guilty of the charges.  I   relied on the testimony of sixth prosecution witness,  the then Officer  Commanding  at the Farrafenni military  barracks that  Sonko was the  same beard  man who was the leader during the attack,”  said Justice Admadi.

Sonko is a husband, and had several children according to his lawyer Lamin S. Camara.
“I call on your worship to have mercy,” Camara further begged the court.

The presiding judge sentenced Sonko to death for conspiracy of treason and life imprisonment for murdering six soldiers in the attack.   
However, his lawyer is unconvinced and vowed to file an appeal on behalf of his client.  

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