Gambia UPDATE: Man accused of Cartooning Muslim Prophet is psychotic – Medical report

The trial of Alagie Mam Seye who is accused of caricaturing the Muslim Prophet Muhammed, took a curious turn yesterday at the Brikama Magistrates court as the accused person’s mother- Isatou khan tendered a medical certificate showing that Alagie Mam Seye was psychotic.

The MFWA correspondent in The Gambia reported that Madam Khan told the presiding magistrate that the defense counsel- Mr. LK. Mboge is sick and she decided to appear before the court to present the medical certificate. Dated October 7, 2015, the report was signed by a doctor from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul. The prosecutor raised no objection the tendering of the report.

The trial Magistrate- Mr Ebrima Jaiteh adjourned the case to the October 21, 2015.

Prosecutors stated that on July 11, 2015 one detective from the Serious Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force received information of the alleged offence. An investigation was carried out through the Facebook account of the accused person, leading to his arrest. Alagie Sey was made to open his Facebook account for inspection at the Unit Headquarters after which he is said to have confessed sharing a cartoon of the Holy Prophet. He however denied committing any offence.

On August 20, 2015, Magistrate Ebrima Jaiteh granted Alagie Mam Seye bail on a D10, 000 bond and one surety.  Alagie Mam Seye, according to prosecutors, shared a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad with a 9-year-old girl on his laps, which action was intended to hurt religious feeling.

The MFWA is concerned about the fact that the police forced Alagie Sey to open his Facebook account for scrutiny. This is a flagrant invasion of privacy, while the entire prosecution process constitutes a violation of the accused person’s right to free expression.

 The MFWA therefore calls on the authorities in the Gambia to drop the charges against Alagie Sey.

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