Written by Pa Nderry M’Bai

A high court in Banjul has sentenced a former member of Gambia’s defunct military junta to death. Yankuba Touray has been found guilty as charged, and is sentenced to death and shall be by hanging, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh, a high court judge ruled on Wednesday.  

Touray was found guilty for the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, Gambia’s former Finance Minister. Ceesay died in 1995 in what was then referred to as a mysterious car accident. His remains were found in his official car, outside the village of Jambur. The incident happened after seeing off the former President Yahya Jammeh to the airport.

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Touray refused to testify before Gambia’s truth commission. He cited constitutionality immunity. He was later arrested and charged for the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.

Evidence has emerged at Gambia’s truth commission, which linked Koro Ceesay’s death to Yankuba Touray. One of the TRRC witnesses Alhagie Kanyi testified that he was present when Koro was attacked by council members at Yankuba Touray’s Kotu home. He testified that the former junta Defense Minister Edward Singhateh, Edu’s younger brother Peter Singhateh, Yankuba Touray and himself Kanyi had taken part in the murder of the late Finance Minister.

Reading his judgment in a parked courtroom, Justice Jaiteh said: Yankuba Touray has been found guilty for the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, he has been convicted as charged, and is sentenced to death and shall be by hanging.

The sentenced former junta Local government minister, has earlier tried to convince the Supreme Court to uphold his argument that he is immune from prosecution under the current constitution, but the court won’t entertain his lawsuit. The Supreme court has ruled that Touray has no immunity for murder. He was subsequently tried and sentenced by the high court.

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