Gambia ex-minister faces torture charges in Swiss trial


A former interior minister of The Gambia goes on trial in Switzerland on Monday accused of crimes against humanity.

Ousman Sonko faces a lengthy list of charges, including participating in or ordering the killing, torture and rape of political opponents.

Sonko has denied all the charges, AFP news agency reports, citing his lawyer Philippe Currat.

He fled to Switzerland in 2016, shortly before the repressive regime of Gambian president Yahya Jammeh lost power, but was arrested after non-governmental organisations presented Swiss authorities with evidence of his involvement in human rights violations.

Nine of his alleged victims will be in court to testify.

He is the highest-ranking government official ever to be prosecuted in this way in Europe.

Switzerland is trying the case under the principal of universal jurisdiction, which allows countries to prosecute people on their territory, even though the alleged crimes were committed elsewhere.


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