A Gambian man previously residing in Denver, Colorado was arrested today for torture charges stemming from his actions specifically intended to inflict severe physical pain and suffering on individuals in his custody and control in The Gambia in 2006.
An indictment was returned on June 2 and unsealed today charging Michael Sang Correa, 41, a national of The Gambia, with one count of conspiracy to commit torture and six counts of inflicting torture on specific individuals. Correa made his first court appearance on the charges today before U.S. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter in the District of Colorado.
“Michael Correa allegedly committed heinous acts of violence against victim after victim in a brutal effort to coerce confessions from suspected coup plotters in The Gambia,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “These charges underscore that the United States will not be a safe haven for perpetrators of torture and that human rights violators will be held accountable and brought to justice.”
“As federal prosecutors, our mission is to seek out injustice and to hold accountable those who perpetuate it, regardless of where it occurs,” said U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn of the District of Colorado. “With this arrest, we are not only holding accountable a man who has allegedly committed horrific acts of torture against his own people, but demonstrating to the people of The Gambia, and indeed the entire world, that the United States stands for the rule of law and against those who abuse human rights.”
“Michael Correa’s case is another example of our commitment to pursue those who attempt to evade accountability for their actions by fleeing to the United States,” said Assistant Director David C. Shaw of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), National Security Investigations Division, who oversees the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center. “HSI will continue to investigate perpetrators of torture, genocide, and other war crimes to ensure the United States does not serve as a safe haven for human rights violators.”
The indictment alleges that in 2006, Correa, a former member of a Gambian armed unit known as the Junglers, conspired with others to commit torture against individuals suspected of plotting a failed coup attempt against then-President Yahya Jammeh, and that he inflicted torture on six victims. The Junglers were comprised of individuals who had been selected from the ranks of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) but operated outside the regular GAF chain of command. The Junglers received orders from then-President Yahya Jammeh and answered to him.