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Senegal: opposition figure Sonko sentenced to two years in prison for "corrupting young people

Ousmane Sonko   -  
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On Thursday, a criminal court in Dakar sentenced Senegalese opposition politician Ousmane Sonko, a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, to two years' imprisonment on a charge of "corrupting young people", while acquitting him of rape.

The criminal division also sentenced Mr Sonko's co-accused, Ndèye Khady Ndiaye, the owner of the beauty salon where Mr Sonko was accused of repeatedly abusing a female employee, to two years' imprisonment.

The "corruption of youth", which consists of poaching or encouraging the debauchery of a young person under the age of 21, is an offence under Senegalese law, and not a crime like rape, a lawyer present at the hearing, Ousmane Thiam, told AFP.

Mr Sonko would have been stripped of his electoral rights if he had been convicted in absentia of a crime such as rape.

However, the reclassification of the offence as a misdemeanour under the electoral code appears to maintain the threat of ineligibility for Mr Sonko and his ability to stand in the 2024 presidential election.

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