New Narratives is pleased to to support the reporting of leading Gambian journalist Mustapha K. Darboe of the trial of Ousman Sonko, a former lieutenant of Gambia’s dictator president Yahya Jammeh, in Bellinzona, Switzerland.
During Jammeh’s rule Sonko rose to commander of the presidential guard, chief of police and interior minister, a portfolio he held for 10 years, becoming Mr. Jammeh’s longest serving minister.
In their indictment, Swiss prosecutors have accused Mr. Sonko, acting alone or as part of a group, of having “deliberately killed, tortured, raped and unlawfully deprived individuals of their liberty.”
Sonko is the highest ranking government official to face prosecution in Europe under the principle of “universal jurisidiction” which holds that alleged perpetrators can be tried for crimes against humanity regardless of where they were committed. New Narratives covered the first conviction secured by Swiss authorities under universal jurisdiction laws of Alieu Kosiah, a Liberian rebel commander, in 2022.
The trial will run from January 8th until January 30th.
Mustapha K. Darboe is the news editor of investigative journalism platform Malagen. Before that he was a journalist with the country’s second largest online platform, Kerr Fatou. A four-time national journalism awards winner, Mustapha was the vice-president of the Gambia Press Union, and the correspondent in Banjul for the Turkey News Agency (Anadolu Agency). He is a passionate blogger and in 2018 he authored an e-book, “Playbook of a Tyrant”, inspired by the 22-year dictatorship under former president Yahya Jammeh.