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Gambia: 2 imams pronounced guilty for conducing friday prayers
Magistrate SB Joof of the Brikama court yesterday pronounced and sentenced two Brikama imams Karamo Camara, a Gambian and Yusupha Camara, a Bissau national inhabitant in Brikama, to a fine of two thousand dalasi each, in failure to pay or serve one month in prison.
“The two imams were found guilty of a one-count charge bordering on closures and restrictions on non-essential public places contrary to the emergency powers regulation 2020.
As said by the police prosecutor Sub-Inspector Bobo Jarju, the first put into trial Karamo Camara, on 17 April 2020, at Brikama Darsilameh, intentionally and illegally led congregational Friday prayers in a mosque, going against social distancing guidelines and committing an offence.
As for Imam Yusupha Camara, a Bissau national, he was found leading congregational Friday prayers at Brikama Gidda.
In their appeal of alleviation, the two imams pleaded to the court to temper justice with mercy saying this is the first time they have a problem with the law and promising never to do it again.
In passing his judgement, the trial Magistrate Joof said: “I have listened to the plea of mitigations of the convicts and I will also put the consideration that this is their first time and they did not waste the court’s time. I will also consider the essential services they are rendering to the public. But not withstanding these facts, the convicts violated the statutory laws which are to protect the people and save their lives from Covid-19 pandemic. We should all endeavour to abide by the rules and regulations of not just The Gambia but the international community which is the WHO.”
He said the disobeying of this law could prove fatal, before passing the sentences.