Judicial sources say Magistrate Omar Jabang has been reinstated after his arrest and detention this week for acquitting a business tycoon in a case that the government’s executive branch is highly interested in.

Jabang arrested Tuesday night.

Jabang, 24, was arrested on Tuesday night and detained for days bythe Serious Crime Unit of the Gambia police and was released without any charges. Jabang acquitted businessman Yusupha Saidy, after defense attorneys for the magnate submitted a no case to answer. Jabang has been described as a promising and independent judge after being appointment to his job as a new 23-year-old graduate from the law school.


Last year at least two other young magistrates were fired without consulting the judicial service commission after they made rulings not favorable to the government. Magistrate Samsideen Conteh was released from his duties after acquitting Sait Matty Jow, a university lecturer of breaking statutory laws for wanting to conduct research on good governance and corruption. Magistrate Jackline N Hakim was also dismissed after acquitting suspects for lack of evidence from the prosecution including in a case involving two journalists, Sainey Marenah and Musa Sheriff for publication of false news and conspiracy.

Senior magistrates, justices face state harassment and intimidation

Two senior principal magistrates left the country after they feared for their lives in the country.

Magistrate Lamin Mbye and Ebrima Jaiteh both left Gambia after they were arrested for making rulings against the state. Magistrate Mbye freed a former senior government official, Permanent Secretary Mambayick Njie in a false information trial. Magistrate Ebrima Jaiteh freed a senior cleric, Sheriff Muhideen Hydara for observing a Muslim Eid festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan on a day other than that which was sanctioned by President Yahya Jammeh with the support of the Supreme Islamic Council.

Police prosecutors charged Jaiteh with abuse of office and negligence of duty before he was released on a bail of USD $1,389 (GMD D50,000).

Chief justice fled the country.

The country’s former chief justice Ghanaian-born Mabel Yamoa Agyemang managed to leave the country after she was accused of espionage and her replacement, Pakistani-born Ali Nawaz Chowhan left the tiny West African nation after relations between him and the government soured for overturning the treason convictions of at least two former military chiefs.

The Gambia’s judiciary is said not to be independent and often face interference in politically motivated cases. Young Gambian magistrates are said to make their rulings based on law and evidence and thus often find themselves not passing judgements that raise eyebrows on the side of the government.

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