In Senegal, Ousmane Sonko arrested in Dakar

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Ousmane Sonko, here on March 16, 2023 during a demonstration in Dakar, was arrested this Friday, July 28 at his home in the Senegalese capital. © AFP

The opponent of Macky Sall was arrested this Friday, July 28 in the Senegalese capital. He had been threatened with arrest since his sentence to two years in prison on June 1.

Updated on July 28, 2023 at 8:53 p.m.

Senegal had been speculating about his arrest for several weeks. It was finally this Friday, July 28 that the opponent Ousmane Sonko was arrested by the authorities. “He was indeed arrested”, confirms Ousseynou Ly, the spokesperson for the African Patriots of Senegal for work, ethics and fraternity (Pastef), to Jeune Afrique .

Friday evening, the opponent was heard by the General Affairs Brigade, housed in the Dakar court, in the company of his lawyers.

A few minutes before being arrested, the opponent, who still hopes to run in the presidential election of February 2024, posted a message on social networks. “When I returned from Friday prayers on July 28 , 2023, general intelligence agents stationed outside my home 24 hours a day started filming me. I snatched the phone and asked the person to unlock it and delete the images they took, which they refused. Currently, a strong team of the gendarmerie is watching in front of my home, as you can see, and seems ready to break down the door…” He also appealed to his supporters: “I ask the people to be ready to deal with this endless abuse. »

TO READOusmane Sonko sentenced to two years in prison

Sentenced on June 1 to two years in prison for youth corruption, the Senegalese opponent had been living in seclusion at home for two months. Deprived of liberty without being arrested, he remained de facto under house arrest “to prevent disturbances to public order”, according to the government. But the barriers that had blocked access to his residence for months had been lifted on Monday. A lighter police force had nevertheless been maintained, said a relative of the mayor of Ziguinchor.

Violent demonstrations

The government’s decision to release Ousmane Sonko after the verdict handed down at the end of a long trial for “rape and death threats” has so far raised many questions. This trial had plunged the country into violent demonstrations which left around twenty dead.

Ismaïla Madior Fall, the Minister of Justice, had indicated that the opponent “could be arrested at any time”. “The question of the arrest of Ousmane Sonko depends on the public prosecutor”, had again insisted the minister spokesman of the government, Abdou Karim Fofana, this week.

“No one is above the law”

Since March 2021, the demonstrations linked to the legal cases in which Ousmane Sonko is entangled have caused the death of at least 30 people and caused heavy material damage.

“There is no man who is above others and above the law. In a state governed by the rule of law, anyone sentenced must serve their sentence. It’s unstoppable. And we will get there, argued Seydou Gueye, minister-advisor to Macky Sall, this week. The State does not show weakness but responsibility and discernment. »

The main opponent of Macky Sall challenged the state to arrest him during an interview broadcast on France 24 on July 6. “I am in a hurry for them to have the courage to go to the end of their logic”, had hammered Ousmane Sonko after having reiterated “that there will be no election if, by legal tricks, President Macky Sall wanted to prevent [his] candidacy. Or else [the presidential election will be held] in indescribable chaos ”.

Source: Jeune Afrique

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