Ex-Gambian junta member sentenced to death for murder

5

A Gambian court sentenced an ally of ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh to death on Wednesday July 14, for his role in the murder of a former finance minister.

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

According to reports, Gambia’s government subsequently established a Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to investigate 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.

Public prosecutors then charged him with the 1995 murder of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.

On Wednesday, the court in the capital Banjul found Touray guilty of committing the murder, according to an AFP journalist present.

“The sentence of death shall be by hanging,” Justice Jaiteh told the courtroom.

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 initially argued that, as a former junta member, the constitution guaranteed him immunity from prosecution.