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Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2024

Sonko Goes On Trial For Crime Against Humanity under Jammeh’s Regime 

Ousman Sonko, The Gambia former interior minister under former President Jammeh will today go on  trial for his alleged role in a series of crimes committed against Gambians under the 22-year rule of former President  Yahya Jammeh at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in the city of Bellinzona.

Ousman  Sonko a  54-year old,  who first served in the military, rising through the ranks to command the State Guards, an elite military unit which guards the Gambian presidency, in 2003.

  Mr Sonko later served as both the head of the Gambia police and the interior minister presiding over the internal security matters of the country from 2005 to 2016. After his fell out with Jammeh in 2016, he fled to Switzerland.

He was later arrested in Bern in January 2017, a day after the Geneva-based rights organisation— Trial International— filed a criminal complaint against him. He was formally indicted by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General before the Federal Criminal Court in April 2023.

   Mr Sonko faces charges of murder, rape, false imprisonment, torture, among others. Nine Gambian victims are bringing the case against him in the three-week trial which ends by 30 January. A tenth plaintiff passed away in October allegedly as a result of lasting injuries inflicted by Mr Sonko.

 The Swiss Office of the Attorney General also accuses Mr Sonko of having co-perpetrated deprivation of liberty and acts of torture of peaceful demonstrators in 2016, when he was Minister of the Interior. These acts have been qualified by the Swiss prosecutor as crimes against humanity.

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