By Omar Bah
Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court has ruled that Ousman Sonko, a former interior minister of Gambia suspected of human rights abuses, must remain in Swiss detention until January 2020.
In a decision published on Monday, the Bellinzona-based court rejected his appeal challenging his detention based on the new evidence collected during the investigation conducted by the Swiss prosecuting authorities.
Sonko was a member of the Gambian army under the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh from 1994 to 2016.
He was appointed Commander of the Presidential Guard, an elite unit of the Gambian armed forces.
He then served as Inspector General of Police, before being appointed Minister of the Interior in 2006. He held this position until September 2016, when he was dismissed from office and left The Gambia.
While serving as Minister of the Interior, Sonko allegedly committed crimes, such as commanding a special squad known for its brutality against citizens or facilitating torture and killings in official and unofficial detention centers.
Dismissed from office in September 2016, Ousman Sonko fled Gambia for Senegal and then Sweden, where he sought asylum.
His application was rejected. He then went to Switzerland where he also applied for asylum.