Gambia not seeking Sonko’s extradition

Gambia not seeking Sonko’s extradition

Gambian authorities are not seeking to have former internal security minister, Ousman Sonko extradited from Switzerland to face human rights charges.

Swiss authorities held Sonko since January on charges of torture, and investigations last week have been broadened following the testimony of two victims.

Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Aboubacarr Ba Tambadou said the West African nation is cooperating with Switzerland to try Sonko in Europe but not to extradite him to Banjul.

“We are cooperating in their investigations and prosecution of Ousman Sonko [in Switzerland],” he told The Point on the sidelines of the launch of the consultations on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRRC) over the weekend.

The Gambia had issued arrest warrants for Sonko’s involved in at least seven killings by the ex-regime, including that of journalist Deyda Hydara.

At least seven witnesses from The Gambia have been secured by Trial International to testify against Sonko, who is alleged to have taken part in their torture.

Ousman Sonko was the Minister of Interior under the Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh from 2006 to 2016. During this period he is suspected of taking part in acts of torture, including in detention centers.

Dismissed from office in September 2016, Ousman Sonko fled the Gambia for Senegal, then Sweden, where he sought asylum. His application was rejected. He then went to Switzerland where he also applied for asylum.

TRIAL International lodged a criminal complaint with the Bernese prosecuting authorities on 25 January 2017. The authorities ordered his arrest the following day, in accordance with the Convention against Torture and the Swiss Criminal Code.

Under Jammeh, for more than two decades, all opposition was brutally repressed: torture, extrajudicial executions, and enforced disappearances were widespread.

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