May 24th, 2024

Swiss court convicts a former interior minister of Gambia for crimes against humanity

By The Associated Press on May 15, 2024.

GENEVA (AP) – Switzerland’s top criminal court has convicted a former interior minister of Gambia for crimes against humanity during repression by the west African country’s security forces against opponents of its longtime dictator, a legal advocacy group said Wednesday.

Ousman Sonko, Gambia’s interior minister from 2006 to 2016 under then-President Yahya Jammeh, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Trial International said on Twitter.

The trial that began in January was seen by advocacy groups as an opportunity to reach a conviction under “universal jurisdiction,” which allows the prosecution of serious crimes committed abroad.

The verdict was read out in Swiss federal criminal court in southern Bellinzona on Wednesday.

Sonko applied for asylum in Switzerland in November 2016 and was arrested two months later.

The Swiss attorney general’s office said the indictment against Sonko, filed a year ago, covered alleged crimes during 16 years under Jammeh, whose rule was marked by arbitrary detention, sexual abuse and extrajudicial killings.

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