Gambian authorities have asked Swiss prosecutors to surrender the longtime right hand man of its ousted autocratic ruler to face charges of crimes against the state and human rights abuses.
Ousman Sonko, former head of erstwhile President Yahya Jammeh’s elite presidential guards and minister for interior fell out with the dictator last year and fled to Europe, where he was denied asylum and held crimes against humanity.
Trial International filed criminal complaints against Sonko who has been connected to the killings of 14 students, torture, unlawful detentions and arbitrary arrests.
At least nine former officers of a secret spy agency have been charged with the murder of an opposition activist, Solo Sandeng. Sandeng was arrested in April 2016 and tortured to death.
Sonko had called himself a disciple of Jammeh and threatened to “seriously deal with anyone who wants to destabilize” the country. He accused the opposition, now the ruling party of being funded by Western governments to violently overthrow Jammeh.
The Gambia’s new government faces enormous challenges to rebuild the country’s broken economy and long-neglected institutions. Key issues include providing justice to victims of Jammeh-era abuses, reforming the security services, and rebuilding the judiciary.