Swiss court finds Gambian ex-minister guilty of crimes against humanity

Switzerland’s top criminal court has sentenced Ousman Sonko, a former interior minister of The Gambia, to 20 years in prison for crimes against humanity.

In its verdict on Wednesday, the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, southern Switzerland, said Sonko was guilty of intentional homicide, torture and false imprisonment during former President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule over the country. The charges against Sonko, who served as interior minister from 2006 to 2016, covered alleged crimes during 16 years under Jammeh, who was removed from power in 2017.

Swiss prosecutors had accused Sonko, who was acquitted of rape charges, of supporting, participating in and failing to stop attacks against opponents in The Gambia. The charges included nine counts of crimes against humanity.

Sonko, who was in the courtroom, applied for asylum in Switzerland in November 2016 and was arrested two months later.

The trial started in January. The 55-year-old may appeal the verdict.

Rights groups welcomed the ruling, obtained under “universal jurisdiction”, which allows countries to prosecute alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide regardless of where they were committed.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here