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Senegalese Political Opponent In Custody

A Senegalese opposition politician was on Tuesday charged with committing an offence against the president, his lawyer said, in a case over recent comments he made about President Macky Sall.

Senegal's President Macky Sall, pictured here at an African Union summit in February 2023, has said he will not run for a third term in next year's presidential election. © Tiksa Negeri, Reuters file photo

The charges against Birame Souleye Diop, a senior member of the Pastef political party and the Yewwi Askan Wi opposition coalition, are tied to a blistering statement he made last week regarding the president's political intentions.

Sall on July 3 announced he would not run for a controversial third term in next year's election, ending months of tense uncertainty.

At a press conference the following day, Diop suggested that the president could make a U-turn on his announcement.

He issued a "warning" to future candidates of Sall's party.

"Avoid eating at his house, avoid drinking his water – he is capable of poisoning you and saying, 'As we no longer have a candidate, I'm coming back'", Diop said.

Diop, who later apologised for the comments, was charged Tuesday with committing "acts likely to jeopardise public peace" and an "offence against the President of the Republic", his lawyer, Moussa Sarr, told AFP.

He was remanded in custody, Sarr said.

His Pastef party is led by Ousmane Sonko, Sall's fiercest opponent, who was handed a two-year prison sentence in June for moral corruption of a young woman.

The verdict, which rendered Sonko ineligible for the February 2024 presidential election, sparked the most serious unrest in Senegal for years, leaving at least 16 dead.


© 2023 France24


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