Thursday, 24 September 2009
Kanyiba’s Disappearance Clocks 3 Years, As His fate Hangs in Court
Mr. Kanyiba Kanyi an employee of the Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) and also the Kombo East Constituency Chairman of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), who is said to be arrested at his home in Bonto village, on 18th September 2006, on Friday 18th September 2009, clocked 1095 days without his family setting eyes on him or knowing his whereabouts.
According to his family, Kanyiba was arrested by three plain clothes officers in the evening of the said date while they looked on. They stated that his 3 arrestors came onboard a cab and whisked him away. They said since then they have never set eyes on him or established his whereabouts. The family added that his arrestors later came back for his younger brother Wandifa Kanyi who was said to be detained at the Serious Crime Unit at the Police Headquarters in Banjul only to be released the following day without any charge.
The family further said they have moved both heaven and earth to establish his whereabouts but to no avail. The family expressed their frustration over his long disappearance which they said has caused them sleepless nights; that they have now lost hope and faith that they would see him again. They expressed their sorrow and said their only hope of seeing him is in the next world.
The family of Kanyiba took lawyer Ousainou Darboe and filed a “writ of Habeas Corpus” at the High Court on 17th October 2006, against the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Attorney General to produce him. The State counsel said they have written to all the concerned parties about the case but could not get any response from them.
On 5 June 2007, Justice Sanji Monageng of the Banjul High Court ordered the State to release Kanyiba from their custody. Justice Monageng ruled that human beings cannot disappear from the face of the earth like that. The State failed to adhere to the Court’s order and the matter became stagnant before the Court as the State keeps on denying that he is in their custody.
Again on 21 May 2008, in the same pursuit of the release of Kanyiba, an affidavit deposed by Rambo Ousman Jatta was filed by Lawyer Mrs. Neneh Cham Chongan at the High Court presided by Justice Mabel Maame (Yamoa) Agyemang. (Rambo Ousman Jatta, is reported to have been held in detention incommunicado for 14 months at different detention centres in the country.) The State counsel however, promised to file in an affidavit in response to the application. The State added that they were yet to get any feedback from the State authorities on the case.
Justice Aygemang raised concerns about the previous ruling by Justice Monageng ordering the State to release Kanyiba. In her ruling, she said, “it is disappointing that the previous Court order can be flouted like that”. She registered her disappointment over the nature of the case due to the failure of the State to comply with the Court’s order. Justice Aygemang ruled that there is no doubt that Kanyiba is in State custody as his co-applicants Rambo was found in State custody. She also reiterated her surprise about the State’s lack of respect for the Court.
From there, the matter became stalled until the 29th January, 2009 when the case came up again, before Justice Joseph Wowo, as the third judge to hear the case. Lawyer Darboe reminded the Court about the previous ruling on the case for the release of Kanyiba. He told the Court that at times they do establish that Kanyiba was detained at NIA and Mile 2 Prison, but added that sometimes they could not establish where he is being detained. The State counsel Mrs. Marley Wood said she would consult with the Attorney General on the matter on whether Kanyiba is in State custody. This did not suit Darboe, who emphasized that he had evidence that Kanyiba is in State custody. Darboe added that the former minister for the Interior Babucarr Jatta bluntly confessed that he ordered for the arrest of Kanyiba.
On 1July 2009, State Counsel Mrs. Marley Wood, representing DPP R.N Chenge told the Court that the DPP was indisposed and requested the Court to adjourn the case for the DPP to submit his report to the Court concerning the case.
On 29th July, the case took a new twist, when the presiding judge, Justice Wowo, ruled that he would send the case file to the office of the Chief Justice to determine the fate of the case. The DPP was not in Court on that day.
By Fabakary B. Ceesay