A Gambian court sentence ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh’s ally to death on Wednesday for his involvement in the murder of a former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.
A Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was formed by the Gambia’s government in the aftermath of Jammeh’s regime to examine atrocities committed during that period. The TRRC heard several hundred witness testimony between 2019 and May 2021.
While others were willing to testify before the TRRC in 2019, Yankuba Touray (a member of the 1994 coup-era military junta that controlled the country for almost two years) declined to do so.
When he appeared before the TRRC in June 2019, Mr. Touray refused to comply with the Commission and refused to testify. TRRC Chairman Dr. Lamin Sise issued a warrant for Touray’s arrest after refusing a second opportunity to take an oath and appear before the panel.
Touray informed the TRRC that he would not testify since he was immune from prosecution for whatever crimes he was accused of committing. However, he was arrested by the Attorney General’s office after a public uproar that almost resulted in his lynching by a crowd that descended on the TRRC sitting site and the Police Station, where he was temporarily held.
Touray, a former Tourist minister, was later accused of the assassination of Ousman Koros Ceesay, former finance minister, in 1995.
Touray and co coupees headed by Jammeh took control in the tiny West African state in 1994 as part of a “bloodless military revolution.”
Jammeh subsequently governed with an iron fist until January 2017, when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow, an utterly unknown politician.
“The sentence of death shall be by hanging,” Justice Jaiteh told the courtroom. The prosecutor went on to say that Mr. Touray had guaranteed that no investigation was conducted after the murder and that the victim’s corpse had been “burnt beyond recognition.”
In 2018, the Gambian government declared a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, despite the fact that the sentence is still in effect.
Touray’s attorneys had initially claimed that he was entitled to protection from prosecution under the country’s constitution as a former member of the junta. However, Touray’s attorney has said that the former Jammeh loyalist would challenge the court’s ruling.