Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Senegal: conviction confirmed for Ousmane Sonko

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Ousmane Sonkoe has been imprisoned since the end of July. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

The Senegalese Supreme Court confirmed Thursday just before midnight the sentencing of imprisoned opponent Ousmane Sonko to six months in prison for defamation, a sentence widely seen as making him ineligible for the February 25 presidential election.

The announcement was made by judge Abdourahmane Diouf and confirmed by two lawyers for the opponent, a declared presidential candidate and central figure in x27;a standoff lasting more than two years with the State which gave rise to several episodes of deadly unrest.

The penalty and damages were confirmed. Sonko lost across the board. It is now completely forbidden to participate in an election.

A quote from El Hadji Diouf, state lawyer

Lawyers of Mr. Sonko dodged the question concerning the eligibility of their client. The Constitutional Council should decide the question soon.

Ousmane Sonko, 49, third in the 2019 presidential election, is being sued by Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang for defamation, insults and forgery.

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After more than twelve hours of debate, the Supreme Court confirmed the sentence given on appeal of six months suspended prison sentence and 200 million CFA francs (445,500 Canadian dollars) in damages, which strongly compromises the opponent's chances of participating in the presidential election.

The Supreme Court's decision closes this case.

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Senegal experienced violent demonstrations last June, after the conviction of opponent Ousmane Sonko .

Sonko's camp had regained hope in a candidacy from their leader after a judge ordered his re-registration on the list in mid-December. electoral lists, confirming a decision rendered in October by the Ziguinchor court, which had been overturned by the Supreme Court.

He was inaugurated on Sunday by his coalition for the presidential election in a private place, behind closed doors, after the authorities banned the public gathering planned for Saturday.

Despite the administration's refusal to provide Mr. Sonko with the necessary documents, the opponent submitted his candidacy file to the Constitutional Council. His representative must appear before the jurisdiction's sponsorship control commission on Friday.

On Wednesday, this body validated the file of Habib Sy, a candidate from the same political side as Mr. Sonko, who promised to withdraw if the leader of his party can run.

Another plan B of his training whose file was examined on Thursday, Bassirou Diomaye Faye must regularize his situation concerning his sponsorships to participate in the ballot.

This trial is the match point. We are bound by deadlines, Mr Cheikh Koureyssi Ba, one of the opponent's counsel, declared at the hearing.

This affair is an operation of political liquidation of an adversary, with a timetable where we count the days to say that such a person will not participate in the presidential election. Mr. President, I hope that this political order will not pass before you, said Mr. Massokhna Kane, closing the pleadings of Mr. Sonko's lawyers.

In another procedure, Mr. Sonko was found guilty on June 1 of debauchery of a minor and sentenced to two years in prison. The opponent did not appear at the trial and was convicted in absentia.

The 49-year-old man is imprisoned since the end of July on other charges, including calling for insurrection, and denounces all these affairs as plots aimed at excluding him from the presidential election.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Mr Sonko's personality is divisive. His sovereignist, pan-Africanist and social discourse, his diatribes against the elites, corruption and the economic and political influence, exercised according to him by the former French colonial power, earned him strong support among young people. p>

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