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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Senegal opposition chief Sonko convicted of corrupting youth, acquitted of rape

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A courtroom in Senegal’s capital says opposition chief Ousmane Sonko has been convicted of corrupting youth however acquitted of raping a lady who labored at a therapeutic massage parlor


DAKAR, Senegal — Senegal opposition chief Ousmane Sonko was convicted Thursday of corrupting youth however acquitted on expenses of raping a lady who labored at a therapeutic massage parlor and making demise threats towards her.

The courtroom sentenced Sonko to 2 years in jail. He didn’t attend his trial within the capital, Dakar, and was judged in absentia. His lawyer mentioned a warrant had not been issued but for the politician’s arrest.

“With this verdict, the authorities need to forestall him from standing within the subsequent presidential election,” lawyer Cire Cledor Ly mentioned.

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Sonko positioned third in Senegal’s 2019 presidential election, and he and his supporters keep his authorized troubles are a part of a authorities effort to derail his candidacy within the 2024 presidential election. Sonko is taken into account President Macky Sall’s essential competitors.

Underneath Senegalese legislation, the conviction would bar Sonko from operating in subsequent yr’s election, mentioned Bamba Cisse, one other protection lawyer.

“The conviction for corruption of youth hinders his eligibility as a result of he was sentenced in absentia, so we will’t attraction,” Cisse mentioned.

Tensions have been rising throughout the nation earlier than the decision, with considerations that protests by Sonko’s supporters would intensify and threaten the nation’s democracy.

Demonstrations turned violent within the leadup to the trial. At the very least one particular person was killed and several other injured throughout a “freedom caravan” orchestrated by Sonko final week from his hometown of Ziguinchor, the place he’s the mayor, to the capitalsome 750 kilometers (465 miles) away.

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