Ex-Gambian minister ‘remanded in Swiss jail as torture investigation extended’

Gambia’s former interior minister Ousman Sonko is to be held in a Swiss jail for a further 3 months after Switzerland’s top prosecutor expanded an investigation into whether he committed crimes against humanity, reports Reuters news agency.

Mr Sonko has been in custody awaiting trial since January, after the Geneva-based legal group Trial International “filed a criminal complaint accusing him of having personally taken part in torture”, the news agency adds.

Reuters reports the Swiss attorney general’s office as saying it has broadened the investigation into Mr Sonko’s alleged activities after hearing testimony from witnesses and once additional complaints were lodged against him.

Mr Sonko was the Gambia’s interior minister from 2006 to 2016 serving under authoritarian leader Yahya Jammeh, later fleeing to Sweden and settling in Switzerland where he applied for asylum in November 2016.

Mr Jammeh himself fled into exile after losing an election to Adama Barrow in December and has denied allegations he tortured and killed political opponents during his two decades in power.

Mr Sonko has not commented on the case.

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