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Senegal: Appeal trial for defamation of opposition leader postponed

Opponent Ousmane Sonko, mayor of Ziguinchor, speaks during a rally of the Senegalese opposition at the Place de l'Obelisque in Dakar, on June 8, 2022.   -  
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The appeal trial for defamation against Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko has been postponed to May 8th, a Dakar court announced Monday (Apr. 17).

The hearing was initially set to take place on April 17th.

Sonko's previous summons and court appearances have provoked civil unrest. His supporters accusing the ruling party of instrumentalizing justice to make Sonko ineligible to contest in next year's presidency.

Last month, the Pasteef party leader was handed a two-month suspended prison sentence for defaming Tourism minister Mame Mbaye Niang.

Sonko was also fined some (300,000 U.S. dollars) and was released from the offences of insult and forgery.

According to Sonko's legal team, the opposition politician is still eligible to run in the presidential elections in 2024.

The 48-year-old politician had claimed Mame Mbaye Niang had been criticised by state inspectors for his management of a rural unemployment scheme.

The minister’s lawyer, who brought the appeal to ask for a tougher sentence for Sonko, said his client, like anyone feeling defamed, has "a right" to file a complaint.

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