Authorities in Switzerland seized at least $14,000 (D602,000 dalasis) from Gambia’s embattled ex-minister of internal security, Ousman Sonko and are refusing to hand it over to him.
Sonko made a request to have the sum returned to pay his legal fees to Mr. Philippe Currat, an international criminal law attorney representing him.
At the time of Sonko’s arrest, huge sums of money in dollars, euros, pounds, and Swiss francs were found on him.
A court in Switzerland denied Sonko’s request to have the money returned to him and ruled it has appointed him a public defender and wouldn’t be needing a private attorney.
Sonko is facing charges of human rights abuse for crimes committed during his time as the Gambia’s longest serving internal security minister.
He was also chief of the police and commander of the elite presidential guard and implicated in the torturing of tens of people and the killing of unarmed student protesters and at least 44 Ghanaians.
At least two torture victims have testified against Sonko in a pre-trial investigation into the allegations.
Sonko was arrested in January after TRIAL International filed a criminal complaint against him. Given the suspicions against him, he had been held in pre-trial detention for the last six months.