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Justice Minister appears for state in Yankuba Touray murder trial

Abubacarr Tambadou, Gambia’s Justice Minister

Yankuba Touray, a former state minister and member of the influential Military Council that takes over power in Gambia on July 22, 1994, has been charged with murder on Monday. Touray’s charge is in connection to the allege murder of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.

Touray made his first court appearance since his arrest last week Thursday at the High Court. His charges were not read to him nor was he able to take a plea due to the limited time availability. He is expected to return to court on Monday July 8 to take a plea.

He is in the meantime remanded in state custody. Touray has been implicated in the killings of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay and 11 soldiers reportedly killed by the junta on November 11, 1994.

He appeared at the Truth Commission investigating the human rights violations of former president Yahya Jammeh last week but Touray claimed he has constitutional immunity.

After his refusal to testify, the Commission ordered his arrest. The lead counsel of the Commission Essa Faal said Touray’s claim immunity does not exist.

Many people saw Touray’s actions as a threat to the existence of the Truth Commission. His actions, many said, will set a bad precedence if he got away with his immunity claims.

After his refusal to testify, the Justice Minister reacted angrily to his behavior saying they will “throw the book at him”, meaning he will get as many charges as he could.

Abubacarr Tambadou himself led the state lawyers in Touray’s prosecution on Monday.

Touray has been earlier charged with tampering with a witness before the Truth Commission but the state withdrew those charges.

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