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Senegal: first defendants under electronic bracelet

Senegal: first defendants under electronic bracelet
Illustration photo: a convicted offender on electronic monitoring   -  
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The Senegalese justice system has for the first time placed two defendants under electronic bracelets instead of sending them to prison, thus inaugurating the device set up to decongest the places of detention, one learns Thursday from the Ministry of Justice.

Two defendants were placed under electronic bracelets Wednesday by the court of Pikine-Guédiawaye (a suburb of Dakar), said to AFP an official at the Ministry of Justice and another of the centre in charge of monitoring people subject to this device, confirming local media information.

The ministry and the centre did not give further details.

The two people on the electronic bracelet are charged with "criminal conspiracy, attempted fraud and use of forgery in an administrative document," the daily L'Observateur reported Thursday.

They will wear the bracelet while the investigation continues in this case.

Senegal inaugurated in mid-November in Dakar the centre responsible for monitoring people under electronic bracelets, a first in West Africa.

The country has been talking about introducing the electronic bracelet as an alternative to prison since 2018. It was approved in July 2020 by deputies.

Those convicted of rape, paedophilia and drug trafficking are excluded from the scope.

The use of this technology has raised reservations among justice professionals and rights advocates. Reservations have been expressed about the capacity of the judicial system in this underdeveloped country to implement the measure, about unequal access to the means of communication that would allow it to be used, and about the fairness of who would or would not benefit from it.

Advocates also say that the bracelet should not become the solution to the fundamental problem of disproportionate use of detention orders.

Human rights defenders regularly denounce the conditions of detention and overcrowding in Senegalese prisons, the almost systematic use of detention warrants, and the length of pretrial detention.

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