Foreign

Court sentences Gambian ex-junta member to death over murder

Court sentences Gambian ex-junta member to death over murder

 

A court in Gambia has sentenced an ally of former dictator Yahya Jammeh to death, for his role in the murder of a former finance minister.

Jammeh carried out a bloodless military coup in the West African state and seized power in 1994. He ruled the country with an iron fist until January 2017, when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing presidential elections to Adama Barrow.

Gambia’s government subsequently set up a Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to probe Jammeh-era abuses, which heard several hundred witness testimonies between 2019 and May. But Yankuba Touray – a member of the junta that ruled The Gambia for some years after the 1994 coup – refused to testify at the TRRC in 2019.

Following this, public prosecutors then charged him with the 1995 murder of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.

The court in the capital Banjul on Wednesday found Touray guilty of committing the murder.

“The sentence of death shall be by hanging,” Justice Jaiteh pronounced.

He added that Touray had ensured that no investigation was carried out after the murder and that the victim’s body was “burnt beyond recognition”.

A lawyer for Yankuba Touray said that the ex-Jammeh ally will appeal the court’s decision.

Touray’s lawyers had argued that, as a former junta member, the constitution guaranteed him immunity from prosecution.

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