Gambian soldier, Sanna Fadera, has been jailed on treason charges for attempting to overthrow the Barrow government.

Fadera, the alleged coup ringleader and mastermind, was jailed for 12 years at the high court in Banjul today. 

The court however discharged two of his fellow accused soldiers. 

Fadera and several other lower ranking soldiers were arrested in December 2022 for attempting to overthrow President Adama Barrow. 

They were arrested and charged with treason, a charge they denied.

The presiding judge Justice Basiru V.P Mahoney found Sanna Fadera, the first accused guilty of committing treason.

Justice Mahoney ruled that the evidence presented demonstrated that Sanna Fadera had prepared and attempted to overthrow the government of the Gambia through unlawful means.

During the plea of mitigation before the judgment was delivered, defense Counsel L.S. Camara appealed to the court on behalf of Sanna Fadera, requesting that the court not impose the death penalty on his client. 

Counsel Camara argued that a lesser penalty should be considered due to factors such as Sanna Fadera being a first-time offender, his youthful age, his profession as a Lab scientist, and his service in the Army for 12 years.

However, state counsel A.M. Yusuf appreciated the verdict delivered by Justice Mahoney but was quick to inform the court of their intention to appeal against the acquittal and discharge of the second, third, and fifth accused individuals. 

He also requested the court to order the remand of the discharged persons pending the hearing and determination of the appeal at the High Court.

The state counsel argued that despite the absence of loss of life, the punishment for treason is capital punishment, and a severe sentence would serve as a deterrent against future attempted coups.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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