CUSTODY EXTENDED FOR EX-GAMBIA INTERIOR MINISTER IN SWITZERLAND

custody

(Reuters) Swiss authorities on Wednesday extended the detention of Gambia’s former interior minister for another three months amid an investigation into accusations he committed crimes against humanity while serving in the African country’s government.

Ousman Sonko, who served under ousted Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, must remain behind bars as the probe by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) continues, according to the decision by a regional court in Berne.

Sonko has been in pre-trial custody since January after the Geneva-based legal group Trial International filed a criminal complaint against him. The group accused Sonko of having personally taken part in what it described as torture.

“We welcome this decision which shows the authorities take the allegations against Mr Sonko seriously,” Trial International’s director Philip Grant said. “We hope the investigation can shed light on some of the abuses perpetuated by Jammeh’s regime.”

Sonko’s lawyer in Switzerland, Phillippe Currat, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Wednesday.

Sonko applied for asylum in Switzerland in early November and had been living in an asylum centre in the capital Berne before being taken into police custody on Jan. 28.

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