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Switzerland: Trial of former Gambian minister for crimes against humanity welcomed

© Getty Images

Former interior minister Ousman Sonko standing trial on charges of involvement in killings, rape and torture during Jammeh presidency

Sonko arrested in Switzerland in 2017 under principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’

‘Sonko must face justice’ - Michèle Eken

Commenting on the trial of Gambia’s former interior minister Ousman Sonko for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the rule of the country’s former president Yahya Jammeh, Michèle Eken, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa researcher, said:

“Sonko must face justice. He served as interior minister for Gambia at a time when atrocious crimes - including torture, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence - were committed.

“Survivors and relatives of victims who suffered brutal crimes under Jammeh’s regime are fighting for accountability and they have a right to justice, truth and reparations.

“The Gambian government must also speed up the process of investigating and prosecuting those identified as potential perpetrators of human rights violations by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.”

Arrested in Switzerland

Ousman Sonko was Gambia’s interior minister from 2006 to 2016. On 26 January 2017, he was arrested in Switzerland under the principle of universal jurisdiction and stands accused of committing crimes against humanity under former President Yahya Jammeh. Sonko fled Gambia in 2016, shortly before former President Jammeh lost power. He was arrested after non-governmental organisations presented the Swiss authorities with evidence of his alleged involvement in killings, rape and torture. The trial started today and is being held at the Federal Criminal Court in the Swiss municipality of Bellinzona.

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