By Ousman A. Marong
A former military junta member Mr. Yankuba Touray who is also an ex-Minister for Local Government and Lands has been arrested on Wednesday at the Truth Commission.
The arrest emerged following multiple issue of subpoenas to him by the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC).
Mr. Touray was to appear before the commission to testify as a person adversely mentioned for his involvement in human rights violations between 1994 -1996. He claims that he has immunity from persecution for all human rights violations that occurred between 1994 and 1997.
“I invoke my constitutional immunity and I am not going to testify under oath,” he remark. “Is this an ambush or what,” he further question. These statements came when Lead Counsel Essa M. Faal asked him (Yankuba Touray) what were the problems in the army between 1994 -1996.
Chairman of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) Mr. Lamin Sise today issued a statement regarding the refusal of Mr. Touray to testify before the commissioners at the (TRRC). Sise revealed that Mr. Yankuba Touray has been informed on several occasion that failure to respect the subpoena issued by the TRRC would constitutes contempt of court and therefore he (Mr. Lamin Sise) would referred the case to the High Court for possible prosecution.
The commission, he adds has to act firmly and within the parameters of the law to ensure that actions of such natures are seriously dealt with in accordance with the full force of the law.
“I therefore have no choice, but to order the immediate arrest of Mr. Yankuba Touray in pursuant to section 15 (1) (h) and 15 (2) (b) of the TRRC Act 2017.However that even if this immunity claims were to be accepted – which is not the case – he cannot lawfully refuse to appear before the Commission and answer questions that do not directly violate the immunity he claim,” Mr. Sise asserted.
Mr. Yankuba Touray was arrested and handover to the Kairaba police station before a referral was submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for the possible prosecution of Mr. Yankuba Touray at the High Court. Angry youth stormed the premises of the TRRC demanding Mr. Touray to testify or they will kill him. Some appeared with stones in their hands while others held plastcards with “Mr. Touray Must Testify.”
By Ousman A. Marong