Senegal opposition leader Sonko convicted of corrupting youth, acquitted of rape
Sonko is considered President Macky Salls main competition.Under Senegalese law, the conviction would bar Sonko from running in next years election, said Bamba Cisse, another defence lawyer.The conviction for corruption of youth hinders his eligibility because he was sentenced in absentia, so we cant appeal, Cisse said.Tensions were rising across the country before the verdict, with concerns that protests by Sonkos supporters would intensify and threaten the countrys democracy.Demonstrations turned violent in the leadup to the trial.
Senegal opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was convicted on Thursday of corrupting youth but acquitted on charges of raping a woman who worked at a massage parlour and making death threats against her.
The court sentenced Sonko to two years in prison. He did not attend his trial in the capital, Dakar, and was judged in absentia. His lawyer said a warrant had not been issued yet for the politician's arrest.
“With this verdict, the authorities want to prevent him from standing in the next presidential election,” lawyer Cire Cledor Ly said.
Sonko placed third in Senegal's 2019 presidential election, and he and his supporters maintain his legal troubles are part of a government effort to derail his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. Sonko is considered President Macky Sall's main competition.
Under Senegalese law, the conviction would bar Sonko from running in next year's election, said Bamba Cisse, another defence lawyer.
“The conviction for corruption of youth hinders his eligibility because he was sentenced in absentia, so we can't appeal,” Cisse said.
Tensions were rising across the country before the verdict, with concerns that protests by Sonko's supporters would intensify and threaten the country's democracy.
Demonstrations turned violent in the leadup to the trial. At least one person was killed and several injured during a “freedom caravan” orchestrated by Sonko last week from his hometown of Ziguinchor, where he is the mayor, to the capitalsome 750 kilometers (465 miles) away.
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