Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gamcotrap Officials’trial resumes

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The criminal trial involving Dr. Isatou Touray, Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), and Amie Bojang-Sosoho, Programme Co-ordinator of the same organisation, Monday resumed at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
However, the case was supposed to proceed with the ninth prosecution witness,  but could not proceed due to the lack of a Fula interpreter. 

The two prominent women’s rights activists are being tried before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba for allegedly stealing 30,000 Euros, being money provided by the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to GAMCOTRAP. When the trial resumed, the prosecuting officer, Superintendent Sainey Joof, told the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with their ninth witness. The witness told the court that she could only understand the Fula language, and the court then suggested for someone to volunteer to interpret for the court.

The prosecuting officer then told the court that the witness came with a relative, who can speak both Fula and Wolof, and that she would be able to help the court to translate what the witness said.
But the lead defence counsel, Amie Bensouda, told the court that the interpretation can only be interpreted from one local language to English, but not from one local language to another before being interpreted into English. She added that the defence did not know how capable the relative was, and they could not assess his interpretation skills.

Counsel Bensouda further said that the prosecution should, in fact, close their case, because this particular witness would come to say the same thing like other female circumcisers.
The case was subsequently adjourned till 20 April 2011 for hearing. Meanwhile, in the separate trial of lawyer Moses B. Jonhson Richards, charged with giving false information and sedition, the case was also adjourned till 30 March 2011, for cross-examination.

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Violence against women is a worldwide yet still hidden problem. Freedom from the threat of harassment, battering, and sexual assault is a concept that most of us have a hard time imagining because violence is such a deep part of our cultures and lives.