On Thursday, January 4, just before midnight, the Senegalese Supreme Court confirmed the sentence of imprisoned opposition figure Ousmane Sonko to six months in prison for defamation. The announcement was made by Judge Abderrahmane Diouf and confirmed by two opposing lawyers, who declared himself his candidate for the February 25 presidential election and is the central figure in the more than two-year-long confrontation with the state that has led to several episodes of deadly unrest. .
“We have confirmed the judgment and damages. Sonko has lost all the way. He is now completely banned from participating in the elections.”Reaction after the decision, State Attorney El Hadj Diouf. Mr Sonko's lawyers have evaded answering the question about their client's eligibility while the conviction is seen as disqualifying him from the electoral contest in February. The Constitutional Council should decide on this issue soon.
Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang has filed a lawsuit against Ousmane Sonko, 49, who finished third in the 2019 presidential election, for “defamation, insults and fraud.” A court of first instance sentenced him in March to a two-month suspended prison sentence and compensation of 200 million CFA francs (300,000 euros). On appeal in May, in Mr Sonko's absence, the courts increased the prison sentence to a suspended six-month term.
Over twelve hours of discussion
After more than twelve hours of debate, the Supreme Court affirmed this ruling on appeal, which seriously harms the opponent's chances of participating in the presidential election. The Supreme Court's decision closes this case.
Sonko's camp regained hope in their leader's candidacy after a judge ordered his re-registration on the electoral rolls in mid-December, confirming the decision issued by the Ziguinchor (south) court in October, which was overturned by the Supreme Court. . He was inaugurated on Sunday by his coalition for the presidential elections in a private place, behind closed doors, after the authorities prevented the public meeting scheduled for Saturday.
Despite the administration's refusal to provide Mr. Sonko with the necessary documents, the opponent submitted his request to the Constitutional Council. His representative must appear before the Judicial Authority's Bail Monitoring Committee on Friday.
Convicted in other cases
On Wednesday, this body approved the file of Habib Sy, a candidate from the same political side as Mr. Sonko, who promised to withdraw if his party leader was able to run. Another plan from his lineup whose file was examined on Thursday, Basiru Diomai Faye, should regularize his situation regarding his sponsorship to participate in the poll.
“This trial is the match point. We are committed to deadlines.”It was announced in a sessionH Sheikh Quresi is one of the opposing lawyers. He added: “This case is a process of political liquidation of an opponent, with a timetable in which we count the days to say that so-and-so will not participate in the presidential elections. Mr. President, I hope that this political system will not pass before you.”M. estimatedH Meskhana Kane, conclusion of the arguments of Mr. Sonko’s lawyers.
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In another case, Mr. Sonko was convicted in 1any June, charged with debauchery of a minor and sentenced to two years in prison. The opponent did not attend the trial and was convicted in absentia. He has been imprisoned since the end of July on other charges, including calling for disobedience, and denounces all of these matters as conspiracies aimed at keeping him out of the presidential elections.
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