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Ousman Sonko Charged with Crimes Against Humanity

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Ousman Sonko, a former interior minister of Gambia, has been charged with crimes against humanity and other offenses by prosecutors in Switzerland. According to the charges, Mr. Sonko was involved in and failed to prevent systematic attacks on opponents of former President Yahya Jammeh.

He held several senior positions in the authoritarian administration of Mr. Jammeh, who ruled Gambia for over two decades after seizing power in a military coup in the mid-1990s. The repression included the systematic use of torture, rape, and extra-judicial executions, according to prosecutors.

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Mr. Sonko has been detained in Switzerland for more than six years, and he denies ever committing any offenses. His lawyer also accused the Swiss authorities of procedural violations during their lengthy investigation.

Mr. Sonko left Gambia to seek asylum in Europe in 2016, shortly before President Jammeh was ousted in an election. Prosecutors claim that Mr. Sonko supported and participated in repression until 2016.

The charges were filed in the Swiss Federal Criminal Court on Tuesday, April 18. According to the court, Mr. Sonko was charged with crimes against humanity, torture, and other inhumane acts. The trial date has not yet been set.

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