President Barrow Wants Bern to Expels Ousman Sonko, Plans to Open an Embassy

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Ousman Sonko

The Government of  President Adama Barrow finalises an extradition request for Ousman Sonko and wants to open an Embassy in Bern Switzerland for the beginning of 2018.

Gambia’s Government promises a fair trial to his former Minister of the Interior held in Switzerland for suspicions of crimes against humanity. Ousman Sonko, who was staying in a transit centre for asylum seekers in the canton of Berne, had been arrested last January after the review of a criminal information filed by Trial International, an NGO based in Geneva.

The government wants to judge him at home. The Ministers of Justice and that of Interior ” are working to make the case progress”, said in an interview with ATS their colleague from Trade  Ministry Dr.Isatou Touray, on the sidelines of an open meeting Tuesday at the WTO (WTO) in Geneva. “I am certain they are doing due diligence” required, she insists. 

After “22 years of dictatorship” under Yahya Jammeh’s Presidency, the Minister ensures that the new Government is committed to the rule of law and “fundamental rights”. To honour an extradition request, Government should convince Switzerland that its judicial system is independent. 

Last week, the MPC – Ministry of Confederation of Switzerland has heard testimonies from a Gambian torture victim who said she was “relieved” by the arrest of Ousman Sonko, said Trial NGO on Wednesday. Another national has also been called recently and a line-up of seven witnesses – 4 females and 3 males could follow. The opening of a trial in Switzerland would be for them “a unique chance to get justice”, says the NGO.

More broadly, President Barrow Government wants to cooperate with  Switzerland to open an Embassy in Bern, ‘very soon’ by ‘the beginning of 2018 ‘. “We have to start discussions” and several Gambian officials are engaged in this issue, according to Dr. Touray. 

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