Ex-Gambian junta member sentenced to death for murder

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Yahya Jammeh (AFP)
Yahya Jammeh (AFP)
  • An ally of Yahya Jammeh has been sentenced to death for his role in the murder of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.
  • Jammeh ruled the West African state with an iron fist until January 2017.
  • Yankuba Touray - a member of the junta that ruled The Gambia for some two years after the 1994 coup - refused to testify at the TRRC in 2019.

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

Jammeh seized power in 1994 as part of a bloodless military coup in the tiny West African state.

He then ruled with an iron fist until January 2017, when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing presidential elections to a relative unknown, Adama Barrow.

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 two 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.

ALSO READ | The Gambia denies plan to decriminalise homosexuality

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".

The Gambian government placed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2018, although the sentence is still on the books.

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.

But the Gambian Supreme Court dismissed this argument.

The TRRC is expected to deliver a report on its findings this month. Victims are hoping that the findings will pave the way towards charges against the ex-dictator himself.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research. Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
32% - 2305 votes
No, I have deleted it
38% - 2723 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
31% - 2212 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.