Senegal: Protests hit Senegal after Sonko sentence
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
After opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison for “corrupting youth,” which harmed his chances of running for president next year, widespread protests, riots, burning of vehicles, and stoning of government properties were reported in many regions of Senegal, including the capital, Dakar.
In 2021, Sonko, 48, was accused of raping and making death threats against a woman who worked in a massage parlor. He asserts that the charges were politically motivated and denies any wrongdoing.
He was cleared of rape on Thursday by a criminal court, but he was found guilty of a separate crime that the penal code defines as immoral behavior toward people under 21.
According to the electoral law in Senegal, this could prevent him from participating in the elections in February.
Bamba Cissé, one of his lawyers, stated, “Sonko cannot be a candidate with this sentence.”
Ndiack Fall, a law professor at the university, stated that Sonko could demand a retrial if he surrenders to authorities.
Since 2021, the rape case has sparked violent protests in Senegal. The allegations were slammed by Sonko’s supporters as a plot to prevent him from running in the election next year. This is denied by both the government and the legal system.
Sonko’s Pastef party said the decision was essential for a political plot and approached residents to rampage.
Brutality emitted at a focal college grounds, where dissidents set a vehicle land and tossed rocks at revolt police, who answered by terminating nerve gas. Situations similar to these were reported in Kaolack, Sonko’s hometown in Casamance, as well as other areas.
Independently, Sonko is engaging against a six-month suspended jail sentence for defamation. That case’s implications for his presidential campaign are still unclear.