Swiss authorities to release Gambia’s former security minister

Swiss authorities to release Gambia’s former security minister

Swiss authorities will be releasing a former Gambian minister, who was denied asylum in Europe and accused of human rights abuses if victims to do not come forward.

Former Security Minister Ousman Sonko is being detained in Switzerland after a right groups accused him of crimes against humanity under the dictatorial rule of former President Yahya Jammeh.

The government of President Yahya Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, frequently committed serious human rights violations including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture against those who voiced opposition to the government.

Swiss authorities said they no one is coming forward with any evidence or case against Mr. Sonko. With no one coming forward, Swiss authorities would have no cause to hold him.

Gambian authorities, however, want Sonko extradited to the West African nation, an attempt he is sure to fight. At least one former military general has been handed over to Gambian authorities by Senegal.

Sonko, who calls himself a ‘diciple’ of former dictator Jammeh oversaw the brutal crackdown by security forces on opposition protesters last Spring that led to the deaths of two activists, including Ebrima Solo Sandeng, who was tortured to death.

The former minister threatened to deal ‘seriously’ with anyone ‘who is funded by the West to destabilize the Gambia.’

Nine former security officers have been arrested and charged for killing of Mr. Sandeng and being detained at a dilapidated prison in Banjul.

Sonko until his arrest has been living in an asylum center in Canton Bern. Prosecutors say his arrest in compliance with the Convention against Torture and the Swiss Criminal Law.

He headed coordinated the work of a special elite paramilitary squad only answerable to Jammeh. He and members of the squad are accused of torture, killings, arbitrary detentions and crimes against the state.

Former security officers implicated the ex-police chief and presidential guard commander in the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara, killing of at least 40 Ghanaian migrants and the execution of nine inmates at the state’s Mile II prison.

Sonko has reportedly taken part in covert operations for the small nation, killing scores of perceived enemies of Jammeh’s regime including attempts on the lives of at least two rights lawyers and the killing of at least 14 student protesters as head of the elite presidential guard, reports say.

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