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Jailed Senegal opposition leader admitted to hospital

Jailed Senegal opposition leader admitted to hospital
(FILES) Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko (C) looks on during an opposition...   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has been on hunger strike since he was arrested after a two-year standoff with the government. Aides and one of his lawyers said he was admitted to a hospital emergency on Sunday in Dakar.

Pastef, Mr Sonko's party, which was dissolved by the authorities on Monday, announced his admission to emergency in a statement. Two spokespersons and one of Mr Sonko's lawyers, Ciré Clédor Ly, confirmed this, without commenting on his condition.

Pastef said it held the authorities "responsible" for his health.

The authorities have not commented on the matter.

Mr Sonko, 49, went on hunger strike on 30 July, two days after his arrest.

A declared presidential candidate in February 2024, he has been waging a fierce battle with the authorities since 2021, when the courts implicated him in a sex scandal that he denounces as a plot to eliminate him politically.

After several episodes of deadly popular protest and two successive convictions for defamation and "corruption of youth", he was imprisoned on Monday on various charges, including calling for insurrection, criminal association in connection with a terrorist undertaking and undermining state security. The authorities announced the dissolution of his party on the same day.

Mr Sonko's candidacy for the presidential election, therefore, seems unrealistic. His lawyers, for their part, maintain that he remains eligible.

In the vice case in particular, they argue that since Mr Sonko refused to attend the trial and was sentenced in absentia, the law stipulates that he must be retried now that he has been arrested.

Mr Ciré Clédor Ly confirmed that Mr Sonko had written to the courts from prison last week to say that he did not accept his conviction, which his lawyers said was a necessary condition for the judgment to be quashed and a new trial held.

The prosecutor, Abdou Karim Diop, denied the day after his arrest that this meant he was no longer in absentia.

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