The two accused 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. They were not represented by any lawyer and were charged separately with the same offence. Both of them pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against them.
According to the particulars of offence, the first convict Karamo Camara, on 17 April 2020, at Brikama Darsilameh, willfully and unlawfully led congregational Friday prayers in a mosque, disobeying social distancing guidelines and committing an offence. Likewise, Imam Yusupha Camara was also found on the same date leading congregational Friday prayers at Brikama Gidda.
In their plea of mitigation, the two imams begged the court to temper justice with mercy saying this is the first time they have a problem with the law and vowing never to do it again.
“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,” Magistrate Joof said in passing judgment.