Yankuba Touray shortly before his arrest

Authorities in the Gambia have vowed to come down heavily on Former Jammeh-era Minister Yankuba Touray who was arrested Wednesday for refusing to incriminate himself at the truth commission.

Abubacarr Tambadou , Attorney General and minister of Justice minister said Mr Touray’s actions and conduct were contemptuous and disrespectful to the commission and his ministry will vehemently prosecute him.

“We will set an example in Mr Touray so that those who are even imagining that they could do something like this and get away with it will think twice about it,” Mr Tambadou told the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS).

Mr Touray who was a member of the five-man military junta from July 1994 to January 1997 and later held various positions including minister for Local Government, Tourism and Youth and Sports, was invited to shed light on alleged human rights violations committed during his time in government.

But despite honouring the invitation to appear before the commission, the former minister who was named by witnesses to have had a hand in the killing of former Finance Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay and the torture of opposition supporters, refused to give evidence and instead invoked provisions of the 1997 constitution.

Mr Touray is invoking the above section of the law

The provisions amongst other things immuned members of the military junta, ministers and other appointees from “being held liable for or answerable before a court or authority or under the constitution of any other law either jointly or severally, for an act or omission in the performance of his her duties.”

Whilst the government acknowledged the existence of the constitutional provisions invoked by Mr Touray, the Justice Minister said the truth commission was not the appropriate forum for the former minister to invoke immunity.

He said: “The immunity provisions are not tested in the appropriate forum and the TRRC was not and is not the appropriate forum to invoke those provisions. It is up to Mr Touray to decide the appropriate forum to test the constitutional provisions but we are determined to ensure that he is prosecuted for not only his contemptuous conduct today at the TRRC but for other crimes that he was implicated.

“We will take all actions necessary to make sure Mr Touray faces the full force of the law.

“I will assure you that this defiance will not go unchallenged and I am sure as day light that my ministry will work in the most serious manner in support of the important work of the [truth] commission.

The Justice minister said Mr Touray’s actions were not only in contempt of the commission and the commissioners but utterly disrespectful for the victims of the AFPRC/APRC government, which he served.

He added: “His actions were totally unbecoming of a man who had held various senior positions in this country. His acts today has no excuse or justification and I totally condemn it in the strongest term possible.

“I was not surprise but shocked at his behaviour and contemptuous conduct and there is no excuse for this kind of behaviour in any civilised society.”