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Banjul court acquits one journalist, six open defence

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A Banjul High Court on July 28, 2009 exonerated one of the seven Gambian journalists being tried for allegedly defaming President Yahya Jammeh.

Abubacarr Saidykhan, a reporter of the independent Foroyaa newspaper was acquitted and discharged following an application filed to that effect by one of the defence counsels Lamin Camara.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s sources reported that another application for the defence counsel for the court to stay proceedings
pending an outcome of a request at an Appeal Court, was however overruled by Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, who replaced Justice Joseph Wowo.
The defence had asked the appeal court to replace Justice Wowo because they could not trust his neutrality. The appeal court is expected to give its ruling July 29.

Saidykhan was arrested together with Sam Sarr, manging editor of the Foroyaa on June 15, According to the court Saidykhan did no wrong when he attempted photographing the arrest of Sarr, his editor.

The remaining six, Ebrima Sawaneh, Pap Saine, Sarata Jabi-Dibba, Pa Modou Faal, , Sam Sarr and Bai Emil Touray have since opened their defence.

Sitting continues on July 29.

Source: MFWA

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