The decision by President Adama Barrow to discontinue the prosecution of five police men implicated in the Faraba shooting which led to the death of three civilians is being review by the Attorney General, said Justice Ministry on Wednesday.
The President said on Tuesday he is discontinuing the trial of the Faraba shooters and civilians who allegedly destroyed private property during the protest which erupted in the village of Faraba Banta in June, 2018.
The decision to prosecute the police officers and the civilians was made by a Commission that investigated the incident for three months.
The president also discontinued the suspension of the directors of the Geology Department and the National Environment Agency.
However, now the Justice Ministry is saying what the President said was an expression of intent and that they are reviewing the request.
Below is the press release from the Ministry:
The Office of the Attorney General notes the concerns expressed over the recent press release from the Office of the President about the discontinuation of the prosecution of the Faraba Banta PIU 5 and others, and wishes to inform the general public that the said press release from the Office of the President should only be regarded as conveying the Presidency’s support to a request by the affected families in Faraba Banta to discontinue the criminal cases resulting from the Faraba Banta Commission of Inquiry. The said request by the affected families, which is not unusual in this jurisdiction, was properly addressed to the Attorney General and was made through the Alkalo of the Village.
The request is still under consideration by the Attorney General, and the Office of the President was only consulted for its views on the request in light of the fact that the Faraba Banta incident on 18 June 2018 was of such national tragedy and importance that it warranted the establishment by His Excellency, the President, of a Commission of Inquiry under Section 200 of the 1997 Constitution.
In this regard, the Office of the Attorney General affirms that the Office of the President did not, and has never attempted to, interfere with the exercise of this discretion, and therefore considers the recent press release from the Office of the President as an unfortunate choice of words.
The Office of the Attorney General reassures the general public that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is vested exclusively in the Attorney General which he executes mainly through the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and the Inspector General of Police. This discretion is exercised with due consideration to several factors including the public interest, and the wishes of the victims’ families.