By Mustapha Jallow
On 7 February, a Swiss court extended the pre-trial detention of the former Gambian Interior Minister under the Jammeh regime. Ousman Sonko, who was arrested two years ago by the Bernese authorities, faces charges of crimes against humanity for his involvement in the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh in the decade 2006-2016.
These remarks were made during a telephone interview with the head of Investigations & Criminal Law Division and the Communications Officer at Trial International.
“This news shows that our prosecuting authorities are taking this case seriously, and are taking their time to investigate,” says Bénédict de Moerloose, Head of Investigations & Criminal Law Division at TRIAL international.
Since the opening of the proceedings following a criminal complaint by the Swiss-based NGO TRIAL International, many victims have filed complaints against Ousman Sonko.
“No fewer than nine victims have accused Ousman SONKO of being involved in acts of torture”, notes Emeline Escafit, Legal Advisor at TRIAL International’s Investigations & Criminal Law Division.
The extension of the former minister’s detention therefore shows that the Swiss prosecution authorities are taking these accusations seriously, and are giving themselves time to conduct a more thorough investigation.