Ex-Interior Minister Ousman-Sonko

(JollofNews) – A former Gambian minister for the Interior suspected of masterminding human rights abuses, during the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh has for a second time lost an appeal against his continuous pre-trial detention in Switzerland.

Ousman Sonko has been in pre-trial custody since January this year after the Geneva-based legal group Trial International filed a criminal complaint against him. The group accused him of having personally taken part in what it described as torture between 2006 and 2016.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal said it cannot grant Sonko’s request for freedom because he is still under urgent suspicion of serious crimes.

The court said its decision was influenced by independent reports by United Nations special observers on Gambia. It added that the severity of the criminal charges and the international nature of the case against Sonko meant that a lengthy procedure could be expected.

Ousman Sonko fled the Gambia in 2016 after falling out with President Yahya Jammeh. He sought for asylum in Switzerland in early November 2016 but was arrested in January this year from an asylum centre in Berne and taken into police custody.

He was remanded in custody by a federal judge in May who granted a request by the Office of the Swiss Attorney General to expand criminal proceedings against him to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity.

Unhappy with the decision, Sonko’s lawyer, Phillippe Currat, made an appeal against that decision but it was rejected in September.

Courtesy of swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug