Swiss Court Jails Gambian Ex-Minister For 20 Years For War Crimes

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A Gambian former interior minister Ousman Sonko has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Switzerland for crimes against humanity committed when President Yahya Jammeh was in power.

Sonko fled to Switzerland in 2016 and claimed asylum, shortly before Mr Jammeh was voted out of office.

Non-governmental organisations presented evidence of atrocities committed against the former president’s political opponents.

A prosecutor said Mr Sonko was convicted of killings, torture and false imprisonment.

Philip Grant, the executive director of Trial International, the NGO that filed the complaint for Mr Sonko’s arrest, said on X that the conviction “sends a resounding message against impunity”.

In a previous hearing, Mr Sonko’s lawyer said that he was not responsible for what happened.

Switzerland tried the case under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows countries to prosecute people for crimes that took place elsewhere.

Mr Sonko is the highest-ranking government official ever to be prosecuted under this principle in Europe.

Mr Jammeh who lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea has also been accused of human rights abuses.