A Swiss Court said it cannot grant Gambia’s former Security Minister Ousman Sonko’s request for freedom because he is still under urgent suspicion of serious crimes.
It is the second time that Sonko is appealing his pre-trial detention. He has been held by authorities in Switzerland since January, suspected of committing human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.
The court relied on UN reports on the human rights situation in The Gambia during Sonko’s time as the West African nation’s law enforcement chief under former dictator, Yahya Jammeh.
At least two witnesses have traveled to Geneva to testify against Sonko and are cooperating with prosecutors to unearth more of Sonko’s crimes.
Sonko had a bitter fall apart with Jammeh and fled to Europe, first to Spain then to Sweden, where his asylum was rejected before opting to go to Switzerland in November, where he was at an asylum camp before his arrest in January.
Swiss prosecutors have broadened investigations of human rights abuses against Sonko. He is also accused of having personally taken part in acts of torture.
The government of President Yahya Jammeh frequently committed serious human rights violations including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, killing, and torture against those who voiced opposition to his regime.