A close friend and spokesperson for opposition leader Ousmane Sonko in Senegal was charged on Monday with disseminating “false news,” according to a lawyer, as political unrest in the west African country increases.
A remark El Hadji Malick Ndiaye wrote on Facebook on March 16 concerning the circumstances in which Ousmane Sonko was escorted to court in Dakar that day, under heavy police escort, led to him being charged and electronically tagged. Ndiaye serves as the party’s communications director.
Ndiaye was arrested last Wednesday. On Monday he was charged with “disseminating fake news likely to discredit institutions and maneuvers and acts likely to compromise public security or cause serious political unrest,” Moussa Sarr, one of his lawyers, told newsmen.
Violence erupted in Dakar after security personnel forcibly grabbed Sonko from his car and transported him to the court where he appeared.
Individuals who were with Mr. Sonko claimed that the security personnel sprayed them with a chemical to force them out of the vehicle. The opposition is pleading for Sonko’s backing and for “the immediate release of all political detainees.”
Sonko will go to trial in a slander case that might disqualify him from running in the presidential race in 2018.
The opposition is pleading for Sonko’s backing and for “the immediate release of all political detainees.”
Since at least one person died during the demonstrations against the trial, Senegal’s President Macky Sall requested that the authorities take action to “preserve public order.”
Sall has refuted Sonko’s claim that he is being disqualified from the ballot by the judiciary.
Sonko is charged by the presidential campaign with inciting unrest on the streets in an effort to elude justice.