Detention extended for former Minister Ousman Sonko
Geneva, 3 May 2017 – The Court of Measures of Constraint in Bern has decided to prolong the detention of Ousman Sonko. The former Minister of Internal Affairs and right hand of Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh is suspected of crimes against humanity.
Ousman Sonko was arrested in Switzerland on 26 January 2017, after TRIAL International filed a criminal complaint against him for torture. Given the suspicions against him, he had been held in pre-trial detention for the last three months.
At the end of this three month-period, the Attorney General of Switzerland was able to extend his detention by 3 months. “We welcome this decision which shows the authorities take the allegations against M. Sonko seriously”, said Philip Grant, Director of TRIAL International. “We hope that the investigation can shed the light on some of the abuses perpetuated by Jammeh’s regime”.
Two victims have already filed a complaint
Since his arrest, two victims – supported by TRIAL International – have filed criminal complaints against Ousman Sonko. Both of them were tortured by the Gambian authorities while the suspect was at the head of security services, first as the Inspector General of Police and later as the Minister of Internal Affairs. Ousman Sonko is accused of having personally taken part in these acts of torture. Further complaints could still be lodged against him.
“The victims who filed complaints against Ousman Sonko have waited long enough for justice to prevail”, concludes Philip Grant. “We hope that this process will finally enable their voices to be heard”.